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WEST SIDE STORY to Open on March 19, 2009 at the Palace Theater

The new production of WEST SIDE STORY will officially open on Broadway at the Palace Theatre (1564 Broadway) on Thursday, March 19, 2009. Directed by its two-time Tony Award winning librettist Arthur Laurents, WEST SIDE STORY will begin preview performances on Monday, February 23, 2009 following an out of town engagement December 15, 2008 through January 17, 2009 at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., where the musical made its world premiere in 1957. The original Jerome Robbins choreography will be restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life). WEST SIDE STORY is composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Tickets for the new Broadway production of WEST SIDE STORY will go on sale to the general public through on Saturday, October 18, 2008. Tickets are currently on sale through for the pre-Broadway engagement at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Full casting and creative team will be announced shortly.

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

"This show will be radically different from any other production of WEST SIDE STORY ever done. The musical theatre and cultural conventions of 1957 made it next to impossible for the characters to have authenticity. Every member of both gangs was always a potential killer even then. Now they actually will be. Only Tony and Maria try to live in a different world" said Arthur Laurents, who was recently nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for his direction of GYPSY, also one of his librettos.

This production, with an onstage cast of 37 and 30 musicians in the orchestra pit, will introduce the unprecedented element of selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs.

Broadway history was made when WEST SIDE STORY premiered at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957. One of theatre's finest accomplishments, 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 transports the achingly beautiful tale of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent streets of the Upper West Side in 1950's New York City. Two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between the rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, the "Jets" and the "Sharks." Their struggle to exist together in a world of violence, hate and prejudice is one of the most heart-breaking, relevant and innovative musical masterpieces of our time.

The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway's finest and features such classics of the American musical theatre as "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere."


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