West Side Story: 50 years

One of my favourite musicals is West Side Story. It has great music, powerful story, and a message that rings as true today as it did in Shakespeare day. The Yesterday, the Telegraph did an article, 50 years of West Side Story, in preparation for Sadler Wells upcoming production.

It is basically a series of quotes that talk about the first production and what lead up to this amazing musical. Some of the ones I particularly like are:

Leonard Bernstein I don't know how many people begged me not to waste my time on something that could not possibly succeed... a show full of hatefulness and ugliness.

Carol Lawrence In the beginning, we broke a lot of Equity rules. A month before rehearsals began, Gerry Freedman took the principals, Tony, Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino, to this tiny little garret, so hot I can't tell you, for no pay at all, eight hours a day, and we would dissect the characters, talk for hours about why they did the things they did.

From start to finish it is obvious the people on this project believed in what they were doing and (perhaps with blinders on) drove forward to create something that is still amazing theatre. I hope someday to work on a project like this - to work with a group of people who are want to create something so unique, so different, they ignore the rest of the world and drive on. Success is nice, but not the goal - the goal is to be involved when something's coming, something good.


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