This West Side Story became the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history Dec. 20, 2010, when it played its 733rd performance. The original production, which had held the record, played 732 performances on Broadway.
The production features scenic design by James Youmans, costumes by Tony Award nominee David C. Woolard, lighting by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley, hair by Mark Adam Rampmeyer and sound design by Tony Award nominee Dan Moses Schreier.
West Side Story has music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Laurents. The staging retains the original choreography of late director Jerome Robbins, who conceived the project by using Romeo and Juliet as inspiration. The Robbins choreography has been restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life).
"West Side Story transports the achingly beautiful tale of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent streets of the Upper West Side in 1950's New York City," according to the producers. "Two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between the rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, the 'Jets' and the 'Sharks.' Their struggle to exist together in a world of violence, hate and prejudice is one of the most heart-breaking, relevant and innovative musical masterpieces of our time." The Bernstein and Sondheim score features such classics of the American musical theatre as "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." Spanish language lyrics were included for some of the songs for the Puerto Rican characters in this revival; director Laurents ended up reverting back to English for some of the songs in mid-run, for the sake of clarity, he later said.
Robbins won the Tony Award for his groundbreaking choreography, and Oliver Smith took home the prize for Best Scenic Design. It was nominated as Best Musical but lost to The Music Man.
West Side Story is produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller with Terry Allen Kramer, Sander Jacobs, Roy Furman/Jill Furman Willis, Freddy DeMann, Robyn Goodman/Walt Grossman, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller, The Weinstein Company and Broadway Across America.
The Palace Theatre is located at 1564 Broadway; for tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.