Musical in two acts | Concept by Jerome Robbins | Book by Arthur Laurents | Music by Leonard Bernstein | Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | German Dialogue by Frank Thannhaeuser and Nico Rabenald | World Premiere directed and choreographed Jerome Robbins | Original Broadway Production by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by arrangement with Roger L. Stevens | German dialogue. Song texts in English with German supertitles
»I like to be in America«: this (not entirely earnest) love song from Leonard Bernstein’s musical »West Side Story« is a hymn to America and the metropolis of New York City. New York is presented as a dazzling creature with two faces: jubilant and brutal, glamorous and ghastly. A city where hopes, dreams and passions are caught in the shrill symphonic crossfire of varying cultures, identities, and fates, all at odds with one another. A city made up not only of Broadway’s dazzle and Fifth Avenue’s elegance, but also of squalor and the unreachable promise of something better.
It is these very contradictions and extremes that make the city what it is, and to this day leaves us enthralled by the myth of New York City as a melting pot. Leonard Bernstein’s »West Side Story« musically captures this myth, and interprets it through the prism of Shakespeare’s »Romeo and Juliet«, giving us a tragic story of hostility, love, and death. Two rival street gangs, heartbreakingly bound together by Tony and Maria’s love for one another. Songs like »America, I Feel Pretty«, and the gorgeous »Tonight« duet belong to the greatest of musical hits, and helped make »West Side Story« the most successful musical of all time. This production of »West Side Story« is a cooperative project between the Leipzig Ballet and Opera.