Something's Coming: Seller and McCollum Making Plans for Bway Return of West Side Story

News   Something's Coming: Seller and McCollum Making Plans for Bway Return of West Side Story Maria, Tony, Anita, Bernardo, Riff and the rest of the gang of West Side Story — the groundbreaking musical of 1957 — will be brought back to Broadway by the groundbreaking producers of Rent and La Bohème.

Producer Kevin McCollum confirmed to Playbill On-Line that he and producing partner Jeffrey Seller are exploring a Broadway revival of the Arthur Laurents-Stephen Sondheim-Leonard Bernstein musical inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

"It's definitely something we're exploring," McCollum told Playbill On-Line June 26, as the final weekend of La Bohème was beginning at the Broadway Theatre. "Jeffrey and I are very excited about bringing West Side Story back to Broadway."

Seller and McCollum, whose projects also include Broadway's new musical comedy, Avenue Q (starting previews July 11 toward a July 31 opening) and the Off-Broadway sensation De La Guarda, are working to partner with the Nederlanders on West Side Story, McCollum said, adding that "it's probably not going to be before spring of '05."

Their production of La Bohème, directed by Baz Luhrmann, closes up shop June 29, but will be reborn in Los Angeles in January 2004 prior to a London run. McCollum also said that markets throughout North America are being considered for La Bohème. Rent continues at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway, and De La Guarda continues downtown in Union Square.

* West Side Story showed an audience something new in 1957: A serious-minded, modern-day, tuneful show set in the gritty streets of Manhattan's West Side (not far from where Lincoln Center now sits) with book, song and dance integrated to high art. The show was conceived and directed by Jerome Robbins, with choreography — now famous, partly because of the Academy Award-winning 1961 film version — by Robbins and Peter Gennaro. Robbins won a 1958 Tony Award for his choreography.

The show initially played 734 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre and had a return engagement in 1960 that lasted 249 performances. It was revived in 1968 at the New York State Theater (89 performances) and in 1980 at the Minskoff Theatre (333 performances).

Songs in the score by Sondheim (lyrics) and Bernstein (music) include "America," "I Feel Pretty," "Cool," "Gee, Officer Krupke!," "Somewhere," "Maria," "Somehing's Coming," "Tonight," "One Hand, One Heart," "Jet Song," "A Boy Like That" and "Tonight (Quintet)."