West Side Story

In the history of stage performance, many works have been directly derived from William Shakespeare, but West Side Story is one of the few to transcend its origins to become a truly unique creation in and of itself. Originally envisioned as a musical reworking of Romeo and Juliet, the play placed Shakespeare's famed tragedy at the crux of an inner-city rivalry between two singing and dancing gangs of delinquents, the Jets and the Sharks. While the effort could have easily devolved into parody, the collaborative trifecta of Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), and Stephen Sondheim (making his Broadway debut as lyricist) perfectly fused Shakespeare's doomed tale of star-crossed lovers with an emotionally charged urban atmosphere. Since its 1957 Broadway debut (and thanks in large part to a critically acclaimed 1961 film adaptation), West Side Story has remained a musical mainstay, reemerging every few years to introduce new generations to such standards as "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty," and "Somewhere." Judging from the strong critical response to this latest revival, the play's choreographed hooligans still haven't lost a step. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: July 12. Continues through July 17, 2011

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