The Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical—directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins—opened September 26, 1957.
West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theatre September 26, 1957. The Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but has New York teenage gangs pitted against each other instead of Verona's dueling families. It included such classic songs as "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." The show was choreographed and staged by Jerome Robbins and Peter Gennaro, the former of whom came up with the show's original 1949 concept: "East Side Story." The piece evolved, with new music, a new location, and a new ethnicity, to become what it was on opening night. Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence, and Chita Rivera starred. A film version starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, and George Chakiris (who was a member of the original London cast) was released in 1961.
Follow the production through rehearsals to backstage to the final production below:
Celebrate 62 Years of West Side Story With a Look Back at the Original Production From Rehearsals to Backstage to Showtime