September 26, 1957: West Side Story Premieres on Broadway
On this day in 1957, the musical drama West Side Story, a tale of two star-crossed lovers divided by rival street gang loyalties, premiered on Broadway. The romantic tragedy set in New York City was a modern adaption of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet.
West Side Story’s musical mastery, namely with songs by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, led to a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical (1962) and an Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical (1962).
Explore Broadway: The American Musical's timeline to uncover 100 years of musical theater.
Play “Name That Tune” to guess melodies played by Great Performances’ “Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park.”
Photos: Library of Congress
1) Poster from original production of West Side Story.
2) Leonard Bernstein outside the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
3) In a production meeting Maria sings “I Feel Pretty,” while her three friends mock her naïve enthusiasm.
4) From the “Somewhere Ballet,” a dreamlike scene in which Tony, Maria, and the rest of the cast imagine a world without prejudice or violence.