The Broadway premiere of West Side Story at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York on 26th September 1957 marked a decisive turning point in the history of American musical theatre: a production that proved to be as challenging as it was emotionally gripping; that didn’t merely demand from its performers the utmost expressiveness in terms of acting, dancing and singing, but that also set entirely new standards musically and dramaturgically and in the process redefined an entire genre. The birth of West Side Story was the culmination of the modern, groundbreaking musical, and yet the work is to this day unique and unrivalled by any of its successors.
A few years on the film version of this grandiose masterpiece by the original creative team – four very individual artistic geniuses, Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim – was awarded 10 Academy Awards and brought West Side Story to a mass audience. On stage it continued to be one of the most successful and best loved musicals of all time, which is once again being celebrated on Broadway in a current revival. With the dynamic new production West Side Story – The 50th Anniversary World Tour – sumptuously staged and acclaimed the world over – it shares the most vital element: Jerome Robbins’ breathtaking and matchless dance vocabulary, in a choreographic recreation by Joey McKneely.
Next to the enthralling and deeply moving story it’s Leonard Bernstein’s immortal songs including “Tonight”, “Maria”, “America” or “Somewhere” that make West Side Story such an enduring musical phenomenon. After ecstatically received tour dates in Asia’s most important capitals – Tokyo, Beijing, Bangkok and Singapore amongst others – the production was invited to the most prestigious theatres in Europe. Completely selling out the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and Sadler’s Wells in London, West Side Story – The 50th Anniversary World Tour delighted audiences and critics alike: In the UK it was awarded two Theatregoers’ Choice Awards and nominated for the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for best revival.