This year is the 50th Anniversary of the original Broadway production of the musical West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). To celebrate that event the album has been re-recorded with Hayley Westenra (Maria), Vittorio Gingolo (Tony), and Connie Fisher (A Girl on “Somewhere”).The story is one of Romeo (Tony) and Juliet (Maria) set in an urban landscape with two rival gangs filling in for the Capulets and Montegues. So if you know Shakespeare’s story then you know that things will not end happily for our young couple. The centuries old tale was updated for the time by Bernstein and Sondheim and is scheduled for another update (thematically not lyrically) for a potential 2008 revival.
I was a little confused when I got this album since I thought it was an original cast recording and couldn’t remember a revival to have taken place. This album was just produced to celebrate the anniversary and is not from any new stage version of the play.
The album also features an insert introduction by Jamie Bernstein, Leonard’s son. Until that revival fans can listen to this re-recording and watch the classic film.
I thought the album swerved more towards the operatic (ala Andrew Lloyd Weber) than I recall the movie doing, but it was a good listen nonetheless.