FLASH FRIDAY: WEST SIDE STORY - All The Way
by Pat Cerasaro
Has Broadway ever had the pleasure to hear a better score than that of WEST SIDE STORY? Furthermore, has a better movie musical ever been made of a Broadway show? Honestly, does musical theatre get any more breathlessly exhilarating and passionately evocative as WEST SIDE STORY unquestionably is? Did Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins somehow actually improve on perfection in the original production of the show with their 1960 film version of the Shakespeare-based, modern Manhattan-set property? Well, I suppose it all depends on your point of view, but, for many Broadway babies, WEST SIDE STORY is simply as good as it gets as far as musical tragedy or musical comedy is concerned, and, for many film buffs, there are few movie musicals as potent, powerful and prescient as WEST SIDE STORY undoubtedly is in its multi-Oscar-winning film iteration. It is truly the best of both worlds for the duration of its running time, somehow managing to put across the highly theatrical storytelling techniques employed by master-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and, also, present the realistic, rough-and-tumble life of Tony and Maria - the doomed lovers at the core of the story. More than anything else, though, it is the impossible-to-beat score for WEST SIDE STORY by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim - along with the tight and terse Arthur Laurents book (enhanced for the film by Ernest Lehman) - that makes WEST SIDE STORY the timeless classic for the ages that it is and always will be. Name one other score that boasts as many songs etched into the very culture of America itself as this one manages to have - “Tonight”, “Maria”, “Cool”, “A Boy Like That”, “I Feel Pretty”, “America”, “Somewhere”; and the list goes on and on. It is, simply, the very best.
So, today, in honor of the forthcoming Fathom one-night-only theatrical re-release of WEST SIDE STORY in selected Fathom-equipped movie theaters nationwide on November 9, we are going to sample some of the best-loved and most memorable moments from the many sides of WEST SIDE STORY over the fifty years since the film’s original release and its original Broadway production in 1957 - and perhaps a surprise or two thrown into the mix, too! After all, when you’re a WEST SIDE STORY fan, you are a fan all the way...( Read more... )