The story is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid s, a multiracial , blue-collar neighborhood. The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks, from Puerto Rico , are taunted by the Jets, a white gang. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. The original Broadway production, conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Robert E.
Make Way for … “Gang Way”?
But the original — with its lush Leonard Bernstein score, finger-snapping Jerome Robbins choreography and lyrics by a then little-known Stephen Sondheim — was itself hailed as startlingly new almost from its opening night, on Sept. In the years since, The Times has tracked the musical as it moved from stage to screen and back again, touching on the politics of casting; its value as Cold War propaganda; and its relationship with the evolving city whose rhythms and troubles it aimed to capture. The musical was first mentioned in The Times in , but the newspaper was sometimes confused about what it was called. Times readers got their first look at the show on Sept. There had been auditions in East Harlem, The Times noted. Howard A. Effort to enlist the show as Cold War cultural outreach — or propaganda — proved more complicated. In Sept. They also darkened her skin, Robertson noted.
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Production notes and credits
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By Johnny Oleksinski. Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission. At the Broadway Theatre, Broadway; By pushing back against what we remember from the Oscar-winning film, a musical that many can recite line-by-line becomes newly suspenseful and gripping. The couple meets during a dance at the gym and, at great risk to themselves, fall in love. But every step in this well-worn plot comes as a startling surprise, starting with the gangs themselves. Revisionism is nothing new on Broadway. Read Next. This story has been shared 58, times.