Rare WEST SIDE STORY Book Signed By All Four Creators to Be at New York Book Fair

It is believed that no other copy of the book is signed by all four creators. 

By: Mar. 13, 2023

The ABAA New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is returning to the Park Avenue Armory in New York City from April 27th-30th, 2023 for its 63rd Edition. Universally referred to as the world's finest antiquarian book fair, NYIABF reveals nearly 200 exhibitors.

Peter Harringon Rare Books from London - one of the leading rare book dealers in the world and the largest antiquarian book dealer in Europe, owned by Pom Harrington - is bringing a rare first edition copy of West Side Story: A Musical, signed by all four creators (Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim). The book is going for £15,000.

This is a first edition and first printing of the book, and it is inscribed "To Clive Hirschorn, Best wishes, Arthur Laurents", "and Leonard Bernstein '86", "To Clive Hirschorn, with best wishes, Jerome Robbins 1998" on front free endpaper, and signed "Stephen Sondheim" on half-title. It is believed that no other copy of the book is signed by all four creators.

Check out photos of the book below!

Rare WEST SIDE STORY Book Signed By All Four Creators to Be at New York Book Fair

Rare WEST SIDE STORY Book Signed By All Four Creators to Be at New York Book Fair

Rare WEST SIDE STORY Book Signed By All Four Creators to Be at New York Book Fair

Theatre and film critic for the Sunday Express, Clive Hirschhorn, bought the book in 1958 in his home town of Johannesburg, according to a dated ownership signature and bookseller's label are present on the front pastedown. He then sought contributions from the four creators with Robbins adding his inscription in the year of his death.

The book features its original grey boards, spine and front cover lettered in gilt, with its dust jacket (priced at $2.95 and with code "3/58" at foot of front flap). The book is housed in a custom black cloth folding box. Its extremities are slightly rubbed, with one corner bumped, minor marks to free endpapers, and abrasion on the front free endpaper. The extremities of the jacket are worn with several closed tears and minor loss.

West Side Story, a contemporary musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, was conceived by choreographer Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) who first proposed a collaboration with composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) and playwright Arthur Laurents (1917-2011) in 1949. The project was slow to progress with Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) joining the creative team when Bernstein's first choice of lyricists were unavailable.

The Broadway premiere took place at the Winter Garden Theatre on 26 September 1957. It ran for 732 performances and won Jerome Robbins the Tony Award for Best Choreographer. West Side Story included more dancing than any previous Broadway show. Random House published the book in their series of "Recent Broadway Hits" six months after the Broadway premiere.

The first West End production opened on 12 December 1958 and ran for 1,039 performances. There have been numerous Broadway and West End revivals together with two film adaptations (released in 1961, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and 2021, directed by Steven Spielberg.



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