What better time than summer to see a local production or film screening of one of the best musicals ever made, West Side Story?
We’ll help you get ready to ¡mambo! Before you go, explore the stories behind the music and more with six of our favorite Bernstein Experience multimedia features, and then get tickets to see West Side Story near you.
- West Side Story premiered on August 19, 1957 in Washington, DC, and on September 26, 1957 on Broadway in New York City. Why does this musical still resonate with audiences, sixty years later? Delve into this fun audio analysis of the tritone, how Bernstein “borrowed” from Beethoven, and more of what makes Bernstein’s West Side Story so special.
- Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents developed the plot of West Side Story one afternoon by the pool. Hear Bernstein tell the story behind the Sharks and Jets in this exclusive audio interview.
- What was it like for Bernstein the months leading up to the premiere? Listen to Jamie Bernstein, author of newly-published Famous Father Girl, read letters between her parents from that hot summer of 1957.
- For Carol Lawrence, West Side Story‘s original Maria, the experience of starring in the first run is one she won’t soon forget. Watch Lawrence describe auditioning for Bernstein.
- Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras made a lovely couple as Maria and Tony in the historic 1984 recording of West Side Story, led by Bernstein himself. Enjoy four exclusive videos from that recording session, courtesy of Unitel!
- West Side Story is still inspiring composers, actors, and musicians of all stripes. Just ask Lin-Manuel Miranda.
So where will you watch West Side Story this summer? Here are some of our top picks.
- Guthrie Theater
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
June 16 – August 26
- Virginia Repertory Theater
Richmond, Virginia, USA
June 22 – July 29
- Shenandoah Summer Music Theater
Winchester, Virginia, USA
July 5 – July 15
- New Bedford Festival Theatre
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
July 20 – July 29
- Clingenberg Festspiele
Klingenberg am Main, Bavaria, Germany
June 15 – August 12
- Raseborgs Sommarteater
June 28 – August 5
- Malmö Opera
August 31 – December 16
Plus, for those of you near New York City on June 25, Broadway legend Chita Rivera will share songs and stories from her starring roles in West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, and more! Performances are at two and seven o’clock at the 92nd Street Y.
Enjoy West Side Story on a big screen
If your local theater isn’t presenting the musical soon, you may want to see West Side Story on the big screen on June 27, presented by Turner Classic movies and Fathom Events. Enter your zip code to find screenings near you. (On social media, look for hashtag #TCMbigscreen.)
Near North Carolina or Massachusetts in July? Watch the West Side Story film with a live orchestra!
- July 14, 2018: Brevard Sinfonia performs live at the Brevard Music Center, Brevard, North Carolina, USA
- July 28, 2018: Boston Symphony performs live at the Tanglewood Music Center, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA
Post updated June 26, 2018
More Bernstein at 100
If you like musical theater, you might also like these Bernstein productions:
- Bard SummerScape Theater: Peter Pan
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, United States
June 28 – July 22
- Santa Fe Opera: Candide
Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
June 29 – August 25
- Olney Theatre: On the Town
Olney, Maryland, United States
June 20 – July 22
What’s your favorite Bernstein theater production? We want to hear from you! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all at @classicalorg.