From the first note to the last sigh, West Side Story is one of the most important and representative musicals of all time. The original score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim is unanimously recognised as one of the best in the history of musicals. Arthur Laurens’ text continues to be as moving and relevant today as it was on the day it opened, and Jerome Robbin’s original choreography is one of the most legendary pieces of contemporary dance ever created. In this show, the greatest love story of all time takes to the streets of New York City to become one of the greatest milestones in the history of musical theatre.
In West Side Story, Arthur Laurens transports Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to New York City, where two young lovers are caught in the clash between two street gangs: the “American” Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a climate of hatred, violence and prejudice gives rise to one of the most exciting, beautiful and relevant stories in musical theatre.
The greatest musical of all time
In all categories, formats and forms of artistic expression, West Side Story represents the pinnacle of artistic and commercial excellence that has earned it the title of “the greatest musical of all time”. Performed continuously all around the world since its première in 1957, West Side Story has received every possible award in the field of musical theatre during its many productions and revivals.
The film version, winner of 10 Oscars, holds the record as the most honoured film by the Academy in the history of musical cinema and fourth in all categories, having been chosen by the US Library of Congress to be part of the National Film Registry for its cultural, historical and aesthetic relevance.
The soundtrack held the number one spot on the charts longer than any other recording (54 weeks on the US Billboard, followed by Michael Jackson, Thriller, 37 weeks), with legendary songs as “Maria”, “America” and “Tonight”, among others.
Centenary of Leonard Bernstein
Born in 1918 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and died in New York in 1990, Leonard Bernstein is one of the great icons of music in the 20th century. He was the first ‘megastar’ conductor in the US. In addition to his work, which led him to collaborate with the world’s leading orchestras as well as the most famous soloists, he also composed for concerts, ballets, theatre and film. He specialised in jazz and contemporary music, with instrumental compositions as successful as his vocal pieces. His best-known works are Fancy Free (1944), On the Town (1944), Peter Pan (1950), Trouble in Tahiti (1952), Wonderful Town (1952), Candide (1956), West Side Story (1957), Chichester Psalms (1965), 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976) and A Quiet Place (1983).
To mark this anniversary, on 22 September 2017, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington DC) the Leonard Bernstein at 100 space was unveiled, to promote and coordinate the global celebrations of the centenary, which will continue until 25 August 2019. By the end of these two years of celebrations, more than 2,000 events will have taken place on six continents to commemorate his work as a composer, conductor, educator and activist/ philanthropist and to present his work to new generations. In the new millennium, his legacy resonates more than ever before, and as part of this global tribute, this great new production of West Side Story will make its debut, coming to the Arriaga Theatre this summer. As the stage director of this production, Federico Barrios, says: “West Side Story is not a tale of princes and princesses or impossible dreams. It is a timeless universal story that shows us the need to prioritise humanity over gender, borders and race. A story that is always current, and which deals with immigration, fears, acceptance, hope, redemption and, above all, love”. Indeed West Side Story is eternal; always current and relevant.
New York, summer of 1957. West Manhattan. Two street gangs, the Jets (youngsters born in the United States, children and grandchildren of European immigrants) and the Sharks (the first Puerto Rican immigrants to arrive in the Big Apple) are vying for territory. Their rivalry is a powder keg for life in the neighbourhood. When the leader of the Sharks, Bernardo, injures a member of the Jets, revenge must be exacted. As the Jets prepare to retaliate, Riff, the leader, goes to Tony, his best friend and retired founder of the gang, to ask him to lead them in the fight. Tony agrees to his request, adding his weight to the clash that will settle who reigns supreme over the neighbourhood. Then he meets Maria, Bernardo’s sister who has just arrived from Puerto Rico, and who dreams of completing her first night in New York by attending the dance at the high school gym. There she will meet Tony, and her destiny will change.
This year, the Arriaga will be playing host to the greatest musical of all time, the great Broadway classic, Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece: WEST SIDE STORY. This magnificent show, produced by SOM Produce, which opened for the first time last year in Madrid, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, will be turning the Arriaga theatre upside down from Wednesday 14 August until Sunday 8 September (almost a month, with 30 shows). In addition, this production directed by Federico Barrios will for the first time in Spain present the full original version of this legendary musical, first performed at the Winter Garden Theater (Broadway, 1957).
Wednesday 14 7:30 pm
Thursday 15 7:30 pm
Friday 16 5:00 and 9:00 pm
Sunday 18 5:00 and 8:45 pm
Tuesday 20 7:30 pm
Wednesday 21 7:30 pm
Thursday 22 7:30 pm
Friday 23 5:00 and 8:45 pm
Saturday 24 5:00 and 8:45 pm
Sunday 25 6:00 pm
Tuesday 27 7:30 pm
Wednesday 28 7:30 pm
Thursday 29 7:30 pm
Friday 30 5:00 and 9:00 pm
Saturday 31 5:00 and 9:00 pm
Sunday 1 6:00 pm
Tuesday 3 7:30 pm
Wednesday 4 7:30 pm
Thursday 5 7:30 pm
Friday 6 5:00 and 9:00 pm
Saturday 7 5:00 and 9:00 pm
Sunday 8 6:00 pm
PricesFriends of the Arriaga: 30% off all performances. Advance ticket sale until 28 April.
Groups, youths, 65+ seniors, unemployed, large families, persons with at least 33% degree of disability: 15% off all performances (except for tickets in the upper balcony)
Persons in wheelchairs: 50% off (proscenium box with one companion)