Welcome

 

Welcome to the official West Side Story website! This is the place for you if you've ever been involved in or infatuated with West Side Story  – as an actor, singer, dancer, musician, producer, director, designer, crew or – just as important – as a fan.

I myself have been a fan of West Side Story ever since my dad composed the score back in the fifties, when I was a little girl. I was too little to understand a lot of the story, but I loved it anyway. It can happen with a classic work that it will grow and unfold along with you over the course of your life. And so it was with me and West Side Story. At the age of ten, upon first seeing the film of West Side Story, I vowed I would see it ten times! By now, I've seen West Side Story more times and more ways than I can count: in three different Broadway theatres, in regional theatres all over the country, in movie houses, on video, in schools, in a punk rock version, in a one-woman version by Cher(!), and most recently, at the illustrious La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy, where the blue jeans and fire escapes onstage made a fine contrast with the elegantly dressed audience in the gilded balconies. 

Here, you can indulge your fascination with this groundbreaking musical in any number of ways. You can read about how the authors developed the show's concept and structure (did you know the original idea was for warring street gangs of Catholics and Jews?). You can "go backstage" at the original Broadway production in 1957. You can search through a calendar of West Side Story performances worldwide.

I wish you happy browsing as you explore the world of West Side Story. It's a world I've lived in all my life, and I'm still enthralled by it. 

-Jamie Bernstein

 Rehearsal Photographs, 1957. Friedman-Abeles, photographer.  Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Rehearsal Photographs, 1957. Friedman-Abeles, photographer. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

 
 
 

Timeline

 
 
 Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. Scene breakdown    ca. 1949. Typescript with holograph annotations.  Leonard Bernstein Collection,   Music Division  , Library of Congress (2) Used by permission of The Robbins Rights Trust.

Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. Scene breakdown ca. 1949. Typescript with holograph annotations. Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (2) Used by permission of The Robbins Rights Trust.

6 January 1949

New York, NY

Jerome Robbins sets the West Side Story concept
in motion.


25 August 1955

Beverly Hills, CA

A meeting with Arthur Laurents produces another idea: two teen-age gangs as the warring factions, one of them newly-arrived Puerto Ricans, the other self-styled "Americans."

 William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet. Boston Ginn and Co., 1940. Ed. by George Kittredge.  Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music Division (1) By permission of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.

William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet. Boston Ginn and Co., 1940. Ed. by George Kittredge. Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music Division (1) By permission of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.


  West Side Story  creative team, 1957: (left to right) lyricist Steven Sondheim, author Arthur Laurents, co-producer Hal Prince, co-producer Robert Griffith (seated), composer Leonard Bernstein, and choreographer Jerome Robbins

West Side Story creative team, 1957: (left to right) lyricist Steven Sondheim, author Arthur Laurents, co-producer Hal Prince, co-producer Robert Griffith (seated), composer Leonard Bernstein, and choreographer Jerome Robbins

14 November 1955

"A young lyricist named Stephen Sondheim came and sang us some of his songs today. What a talent! I think he's ideal for this project, as do we all. The collaboration grows."

-Leonard Bernstein


8 July 1957

 Dance Rehearsal. Photos by Friedman-Abeles.  Courtesy of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Dance Rehearsal. Photos by Friedman-Abeles. Courtesy of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

New York, NY

Rehearsals begin.


 The National Theatre in Washington D.C., 2008.  Via Wikimedia Commons.

The National Theatre in Washington D.C., 2008. Via Wikimedia Commons.

20 August 1957

Washington D.C.

West Side Story opens in Washington D.C.


 West Side Story Playbill, 1958. Courtesy of the Playbill Vault.

West Side Story Playbill, 1958. Courtesy of the Playbill Vault.

26 September 1957

New York, NY

West Side Story opens on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre, runs for 732 performances.


Original_Soundtrack_West_Side_Story.jpg

1957

Original Broadway Cast Recording (Columbia CK 32603)


 Tony Awards Dinner Program, 1958. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

Tony Awards Dinner Program, 1958. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

13 April 1958

Tony Awards

Best Choreographer (Jerome Robbins)

Best Scenic Designer (Oliver Smith)


  West Side Story  movie poster, 1961.

West Side Story movie poster, 1961.

18 OCTOBER 1961

United Artists motion picture released:

Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris


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1961

Film Soundtrack Recording (Columbia OS 2070)