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West Side Story is a musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
The story is set in the Upper West Side neighbourhood in New York City in the mid 1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighbourhood (in the early 1960s, much of the neighbourhood was cleared in an urban renewal project for Lincoln Centre, which changed the neighbourhood'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 Jet Song, Something's Coming, Maria, Tonight, America, Cool, One Hand, One Heart, I Feel Pretty, Somewhere, Gee, Officer Krupke and A Boy Like That.
- New Market Street
- BB8 9BJ