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Celebrate More Than 60 Years of West Side Story on Broadway With These Rare Photos

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Photo Features  

Celebrate More Than 60 Years of West Side Story on Broadway With These Rare Photos

The Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, opened at the Winter Garden Theatre September 26, 1957.

The original Broadway production of West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theatre September 26, 1957. The Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, played 732 performance before closing June 27, 1959.

West Side Story follows two teens from the bitter-enemy gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, as they meet and fall in love at a fateful gym dance.

Celebrate 63 Years of West Side Story With a Look Back at the Original Production From Rehearsals to Backstage to Showtime

Celebrate 63 Years of West Side Story With a Look Back at the Original Production From Rehearsals to Backstage to Showtime

41 PHOTOS

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West Side Story Collage

©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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West Side Story original story plan

©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Cast in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Ken LeRoy and Chita Rivera in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Jerome Robbins in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Cast rehearsing the fight scene

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Carol Lawrence, Stephen Sondheim, and Leonard Bernstein in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Chita Rivera and cast in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Chita Rivera and Peter Gennaro in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Chita Rivera and cast in rehearsal

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


The original Broadway production starred Larry Kent as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, Ken Le Roy as Bernado, Chita Rivera as Anita, Mickey Calin as Riff, Art Smith as Doc, Lee Becker as Anybody’s, Grover Dale as Snowboy, Arch Johnson as Schrank, Tony Mordente as A-Rab, Eddie Roll as Action, David Winter as Baby John, Tommy Abbott as Gee-Tar, William Bramley as Krumpke, Hank Brunjes as Diesel, Erne Castaldo as Toro, Martin Charnin as Big Deal, Marilyn Cooper as Rosalia, Wilma Curley as Graziella, Carole D’Andrea as Velma, Al De Sio as Luis, Marilyn D’Honau, Gene Gavin as Anxious, Frank Green as Mouth Piece, Reri Grist as Consuela, Carmen Gutierrez as Teresita, John Harkins as Gladhand, Lowell Harris as Tiger, Ronnie Lee as Nibbles, George Marcy as Pepe, Jack Murray as Moose, Jay Norman as Juano, Julie Oser as Pauline, Liane Plane as Marguerita, Nanette Rosen as Minnie, Lynn Ross as Estella, Jamie Sanchez as Chino, Noel Schwartz as Indio, and Elizabeth Taylor as Francisca. Rounding out the company were Stephanie Augustine, Muriel Bentley, and Marlys Watters as standbys and Larry Roquemore and Marc Scott as swings.

The production, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins with co-choreography by Peter Gennaro, featured scenic design by Oliver Smith, costume design by Irene Sharaff, lighting design by Jean Rosenthal, and sound design by Sound Associates, Inc. with stage management by Ruth Mitchell and Harry Howell. For the complete cast and creative team, visit PlaybillVault.com/WestSideStory.

A film version starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris (who was a member of the original London cast) was released in 1961.

The musical has since returned to Broadway five times, most recently in a Ivo van Hove-helmed revival, which opened at the Broadway Theatre February 20, 2020.

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