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WEST SIDE STORY
West Side Story is the most famous American musical of all time, with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, but transposed to the gritty streets of New York City's Upper West Side nieghbourhood in the mid 1950s where ethnic gangs warred over territory (in the early 1960s, much of the neighborhood was cleared in an urban renewal project for Lincoln Center, which changed the neighborhood's character).
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 young protagonist, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang's leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Bernstein's score for the musical includes "Something's Coming", "Maria", "America", "Somewhere", "Tonight", "Jet Song", "I Feel Pretty", "A Boy Like That", "One Hand, One Heart", "Gee, Officer Krupke", and "Cool".
A West Side Rumble about to start in Rehearsals