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Happy Birthday to Leonard Bernstein
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Chita Rivera: ‘West Side Story’ changed her career

by Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll


Chita Rivera was a dancer. Leonard Bernstein made her a singer, too.

And singing – plus stories – will be what fans will largely be treated to Monday night at Cotuit Center for the Arts when Rivera sits down with host/accompanist Seth Rudetsky to look back on her 65-year Broadway career.
Read more... )
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Cleveland Orchestra closes season in style with spectacular 'West Side Story' film presentation

By Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer ,
zlewis@plaind.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Call it unorthodox. Call it populist. Just don't call the Cleveland Orchestra's season finale anything less than spectacular.

Sure, by performing "West Side Story" live with the film, the orchestra is breaking a few tired, unwritten rules. Instead of its traditional subscription brochure, the orchestra is taking a page out of its "At the Movies" pamphlet.

But who cares? The reward justifies the risk. Any number of core classical works might have filled the season finale slot, but the fact is "West Side Story" suits the occasion perfectly, better than just about anything else.
Read more... )
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The Night 'West Side Story' Opened in Washington

by Ellen Wexler

When West Side Story premiered in the summer of 1957, Felicia Montealegre wanted to be in Washington.

Felicia, wife of composer Leonard Bernstein, had come down with the flu while on a trip to Chile and was missing the August 19 premiere of Bernstein’s show at The National Theatre. A contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that takes place in New York’s Upper West Side, the show was scheduled to open in Washington for a three-week pre-Broadway tryout.
Read more... )
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The musical rumble that makes listeners love ‘West Side Story’

On this day nearly six decades ago, “West Side Story” premiered on Broadway. And the music of the Sharks and the Jets, and star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria is as vibrant as it was in 1957. Jeffrey Brown sits down with composer and musician Rob Kapilow to discuss what it is about Leonard Bernstein’s hit musical style that has allowed the love story to live on for decades.

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 photo 162016wssatnyphilharmonic_zpsr3wltqr5.jpg


Tonight won't be just any night. Tonight the New York Philharmonic performs Leonard Bernstein's beloved West Side Story score — from "America" and "Tonight" to "Somewhere" and "Maria" — as the complete, re-mastered, Oscar®-winning film is projected in hi-def, with original vocals and dialogue intact. Experience this iconic New York City love story as never before. Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins; featuring Robbins's choreography, Ernest Lehman's screenplay, Arthur Laurents's book, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics.

This concert is a special event of the 2016–17 season.

http://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/1617/the-art-of-the-score-west-side-story?clicklocation=hp_ue_2
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New York Philharmonic To Provide Live Music For WEST SIDE STORY and MANHATTAN Film Screenings

by Michael Dale

It was less than a year after WEST SIDE STORY made its 1957 Broadway debut that its composer, the celebrated orchestra conductor Leonard Bernstein, took his place as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.
Read more... )
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THE ART OF THE SCORE: West Side Story

1961 film with live orchestra

New York Philharmonic
David Newman, Conductor

September 13 - 15, 2016

Tonight won't be just any night. Tonight the New York Philharmonic performs Leonard Bernstein's beloved West Side Story score — from "America" and "Tonight" to "Somewhere" and "Maria" — as the complete, re-mastered, Oscar®-winning film is projected in hi-def, with original vocals and dialogue intact. Experience this iconic New York City love story as never before. Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins; featuring Robbins's choreography, Ernest Lehman's screenplay, Arthur Laurents's book, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics.


Tickets and information .
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West Side Story : Geniuses at Work

By Dennis Razze

“The radioactive fallout from West Side Story must still be descending on Broadway this morning.”

This was the opening line of Walter Kerr’s review of the opening night performance of West Side Story published in the New York Herald Tribune on September 27, 1957. To Kerr, the impact of the musical was as if an atomic bomb dropped on Manhattan—West Side Story certainly changed the American musical forever.
Read more... )
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Finishing the hat : collected lyrics (1954-1981) with attendant comments, principles, heresies, grudges, whines and anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim

p. 26 The second regret was that many of the lyrics in "West Side Story" suffer from a self-conscious effort to be what Lenny deemed "poetic". I had originally been hired to be a co-lyricist with him, and I knew from the start that I was getting into a collaboration with someone whose idea of poetic lyric writing was the antithesis of mine-but Oscar had given me such confidence that I naively thought I could prevail. The collaboration was a delight in every way except for the lyrical result. Lenny was supportive but insistent, and I was just insecure enough to accede and present him with lines like "Today the world was just an address" and "I have a love," these sung by street kids on the pavements of New York City. He especially liked "Tonight there will be no morning star": granted, Tony is supposed to be a dreamy character, but it's unlikely he's even seen a morning star (you don't see stars in Manhattan except at the Planetarium), much less that he would be inclined to use it as an image. Lenny kept encouraging me to come up with these maunderings, but by the time we got around to "Something's Coming" late in rehearsals, I had rebuilt enough confidence over two years of collaboration to insist on the kind of imagery I though Tony should be using-baseball, for example, rather than the night over Manhattan.



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Wonders in the Dark

by Sam Juliano

The film of West Side Story produces the same brilliant effect as the play. This does not mean that the stage show has merely been duplicated; on the contrary, to get the same effect, it had to be effectively translated into a second medium. Because of the quality of the original materials and of the translation, the result is the best film musical ever made. -Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic

 photo 152015wss1_zpss1blejdr.jpg

West Side Story, a cultural institution with a legacy to match any American film in the musical genre or otherwise, is also a curiosity. Read more... )
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In celebration of Carnegie Hall’s 125th-anniversary season, the Weill Music Institute presents the Somewhere Project, including a large-scale production of West Side Story, a work that aligns closely with WMI’s mission of supporting music in the community and the world. The performances take place March 4–6, 2016, at the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens, and feature professional artists in solo roles, Jerome Robbins’s classic choreography, and students and community members from around the city on stage.

Marin Alsop, a former protégé of Leonard Bernstein’s and a visionary leader of education projects, conducts the performances, and Amanda Dehnert, nationally renowned theater director, leads the production. Experiencing West Side Story as a celebration of community and music inspires audiences to embrace the vision of New York City as “a place for us.”
Read more... )
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Happy Birthday to Leonard Bernstein

 photo 152013leonardbernstein_zpsa1c57c9c.jpg
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Celebrate one of the greatest films of all time as the North Carolina Symphony plays Leonard Bernstein's electrifying score live, while the newly re-mastered film is projected on the giant screen in high definition.

Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh
Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8:00pm

Grant Llewellyn, conductor , North Carolina Symphony

http://www.ncsymphony.org/events/index.cfm?view=details&detailid=1108&eid=1938
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'West Side Story? It's the best music a musician can play'

by Karen Price

For little over a year, Rhys Taylor has been performing the score of West Side Story eight times a week.

If you do the maths, that’s almost 500 times. So isn’t he a little bored of it all by now?

“Not at all,” says the Aberystwyth-born clarinettist, who is part of the 20-strong orchestra on the road with the touring musical, which heads to Wales next week.

“I’m tired but I’m not bored. You can be having the worst day ever but as soon as you play the first notes of the prologue, life’s ok. It’s just wonderful music and a fabulous story. It really cheers you up. And even the sad parts are scored so beautifully.”
Read more... )

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