West Side Story Profile

 West Side Story - selection

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1950)
(instr: Naochiro Iwai)

West Side Story is an American musical to a libretto by Arthur Laurents, set to music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It is very much inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Set in the Upper West Side neighbourhood of New York, the musical runs the themes of ethnicity, street gang rivalry, social problems, and of course, love. With West Side Story, Bernstein managed to give to the world some of the most known melodies, even with audiences not usually accustomed and acquainted with musicals. No wonder, the original 1957 Broadway production ran for 732 performances before going on tour. In London it had an even longer run. Many of these melodies are included in tonight’s selection. West Side Story marked the apex of Bernstein’s popular and commercial success.

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