West Side Story The Musical

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West Side Story The Musical

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West Side Story is one of the most influential musicals of all time. It's integration of dance and song into the plot was very innovative, because even though it had been done before, it had never been done this well.

Jerome Robbins had thought of an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to a Broadway musical in 1949. He began discussions with librettist Arthur Laurents and composer Leonard Bernstein of a musical called East Side Story, with a plot concentrating on a Catholic girl and a Jewish boy. Other projects forced the work aside for six years, and when they returned to it, times had changed. Their idea became West Side Story, (another early title was Gangway!) and the Montague-Capulet story was translated into gang warfare between white and Puetro Rican teenage gangs, basen on then-current fighting for the turf of Manhattan's West Side, also known as Hell's Kitchen.

This new translation was important because the tensions of these groups could be well represented by dance numbers. Robbins found the teenager's natural slouch, vi...
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