‘West Side Story’ Premiers on Broadway 1957

As the curtain finally closed, cheers and applause rang through New York’s Winter Garden Theatre as the beloved musical “West Side Story” premiered on Broadway. The play is homage to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, set in the 1950s with New York street gangs.  Tony, a gang member, falls in love with Maria, the brother of a rival Puerto Rican gang member.  Tragedy ensues for the star-crossed lovers as they pursue their romance (you’d think that we’d learn our lessons, but nooooo). The play was recreated as a musical in 1961, sweeping the Academy Awards that year with 10 Awards, including for “Best Picture”. One of the memorable songs is “Somewhere”, which begins, “There’s a place for us /Somewhere a place for us / Peace and quiet and open air/ Wait for us somewhere”, which is still a plaintive theme song for many Latinx immigrants.

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