Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! This month, we’re celebrating the 105th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth by spotlighting his masterwork score for West Side Story (1957), which features lyrics by the young Stephen Sondheim. West Side Story has remained a staple of our culture, thanks to film adaptations from both 1961 and 2021. (I loved both — in fact, I was surprised by how much I thought Steven Spielberg’s remake honored the material.) It’s also been revived on Broadway several times, most recently in 2020.
Personally, I can never get enough of this rousing, soaring, affecting score, and so — for subscribers who comment below to alert me of their private non-commercial interest — I’m offering access to a good-quality soundboard audio of a March 1962 performance that took place in Copenhagen. It was part of the European tour that followed West Side Story’s initial West End production, and it’s got some great performances. Take a listen for yourself — here’s the brilliant “Quintet,” a tribute to Stephen Sondheim, and of course, Leonard Bernstein.
Come back next month for another musical rarity! And stay tuned for more sitcom fun!