“West Side Story” Gets Revived

The Jets and the Sharks are reimagined in this year’s “West Side Story,” which premiered on Broadway this week.

In 1957 the world was introduced to the New York City-based Broadway musical West Side Story thanks to Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins and Arthur Laurents. The story revolves around turf war between street gangs—the Puerto Rican Sharks and the white Jets—and escalates when Tony, a member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, who’s the sister of the Shark’s leader.

The 2020 rendition of the classic musical premiered on Broadway this week, where the iconic story is retold for modern times. What the new West Side Story offers is a look at America diminishing from within by its own wrong doings, handling topics like gun violence and controversy over sexual assault allegations, which have both created divide and upset throughout the country more than ever in recent decades.

Leading the cast is Isaac Powell as Tony, who falls in love with Shereen Primentel’s character Maria. West Side Story also now sees actors of color as members of the Jets, with movie and video images projected onto the stage of the Broadway Theater and new choreography that’s just as sound as it originally was. The musical was brought into fruition by director Ivo van Hove and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics from Stephen Sondheim. 

Tickets for this modern telling of a classic tale are available at Broadway.com

Isaac Powell, who plays Tony, at the “West Side Story” premiere on Thursday, in Celine by Hedi Slimane. Photo by Bruce Glikas.


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