WEST SIDE STORY Closes in Columbus Tonight

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WEST-SIDE-STORY-Comes-to-Columbus-April-17-22-20010101

The tour of the smash hit Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY came to Columbus, opening at the Ohio Theatre on Tuesday, April 17. Tony Award-winning librettist Arthur Laurents' Broadway direction was recreated for the tour by David Saint, the Associate Director on Broadway. The original Jerome Robbins choreography was reproduced by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life).

The new Broadway cast album of WEST SIDE STORY won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway's finest, and features such classics of American musical theatre as "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty," and "Somewhere."

The new production began previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on Monday, February 23, 2009, opening to critical acclaim, breaking box office records for the theatre, and recouping its $14 million investment after only 30 weeks. The Broadway production played its final performance on January 2, 2011. The musical played 27 previews and 748 regular performances, making it the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history. The original production, which held the previous record, played 732 performances on Broadway.

WEST SIDE STORY features scenic designs by James Youmans (Gypsy), costumes by Tony Award nominee David C. Woolard (The Farnsworth Invention, The Who's Tommy), lighting by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Gypsy, Jersey Boys), sound design by Tony Award nominee Dan Moses Schreier (Gypsy, A Catered Affair), and hair by Mark Adam Rampmeyer (The Farnsworth Invention).

WEST SIDE STORY is written by three theatrical luminaries-two-time Tony Award winner Arthur Laurents (book) and multiple Tony and Grammy Award winners Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) in his Broadway debut.

WEST SIDE STORY is produced by Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller with Terry Allen Kramer, Sander Jacobs, Roy Furman/Jill Furman Willis, Robyn Goodman/Walt Grossman, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller, and Broadway Across America.

Tickets begin at $28 and are available at the Ohio Theatre Box Office (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Orders for groups of 20 or more may be placed by calling (614) 719-6900. Performance schedule, prices, and cast are subject to change without notice.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, April 17, 8pm
Wednesday, April 18, 8pm
Thursday, April 19, 8pm
Friday, April 20, 8pm
Saturday, April 21, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, April 22, 1pm & 6:30pm

Production History
WEST SIDE STORY had a long journey to Broadway. Six years elapsed between Jerome Robbins' first idea of a modern musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and its actual Broadway debut in 1957. Originally, the action of the musical was to take place on New York's Lower East Side with tensions flaring between Jews and Catholics during the Passover and Easter holidays. The original setting left the authors uninspired and the project was put on hold. Years later, when Arthur Laurents proposed changing the basis of conflict from religion to race, the show gained creative momentum and WEST SIDE STORY was born.

Originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, WEST SIDE STORY opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957, and garnered passionate reactions from critics and audiences alike. The piece has often been credited with changing the entire course of American musical theatre. Applauding the creators' innovation in dance and musical style, TIME Magazine exclaimed, "Robbins' energetic choreography and Bernstein's grand score accentuate the satiric, hard-edged lyrics of Sondheim and Laurents' capture of the angry voice of urban youth." New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson described the show as "profoundly moving; an incandescent piece of work where theatre people, engrossed in an original project, are all in top form."

The original production starred Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, and Chita Rivera as Anita, winning six 1957 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. Jerome Robbins won the Award for his groundbreaking choreography and Oliver Smith took home the prize for Best Scenic Design. Also nominated were Carol Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, Max Goberman for Best Musical Director, and Irene Sharaff for Best Costume Design. WEST SIDE STORY ran for 732 performances before launching national and international tours and a successful mounting at London's Majesty Theatre in 1958. The first revival of the musical opened on April 8, 1964, at New York City Center by the New York City Center Light Opera Company. The production closed on May 3, 1964, after a limited engagement of 31 performances. The City Center production was staged by Gerald Freedman based on Robbins' original concept.

A Broadway revival opened at the Minskoff Theatre on February 14, 1980, directed and choreographed by Robbins with the assistance of Tom Abbott and Lee Becker Theodore. The revival was nominated for a 1980 Tony Award for Best Revival as well as nods for Debbie Allen as Anita and Josie de Guzman as Maria.

The revival of WEST SIDE STORY on which this tour is based began previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on Monday, February 23, 2009, opening to critical acclaim, breaking box office records, and recouping its $14 million investment after running only 30 weeks. The musical played 27 previews and 748 regular performances, making it the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history.

An exciting and innovative motion picture version, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, was released in 1961 starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers and Rita Moreno as Anita. The film received wide praise from critics, winning ten Academy Awards out of its eleven nominated categories (including Best Picture) as well as a special award for Robbins. The film's soundtrack grossed more than any other album before it.

www.WestSideStory.com

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