West Side Story is an American musical which is based on the story of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare with a Latin theme. The script is by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins, the stage book was rewritten and adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman.
The setting is in New York City about two gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, two of the members fall in love against all their wishes which leads to tragic consequences. The characters are Puerto Rican and have Spanish speaking backgrounds. The film is celebratory of using music and dance of any style to represent the characters groups and to tell the story. It presents Latin culture and sounds through the music and the dancing as well as displaying mambo, Jazz and other forms of music seamlessly.
The time of its release was 1950-60’s is a time of Latin, European and American fusion and creation of new musical hybrids. The sounds and beats are infectious and catchy and brought the musical styles into the mainstream. As well as the success of the movie, the soundtrack alone spent 54 weeks at the top of the Billboard album charts and won a Grammy in 1954 for best soundtrack.
The track listing that helped to make the movie famous is:
- Jet Song
- Something’s Coming
- Dance at the Gym – orchestral
- Gee, Officer Krupke
- I Feel Pretty
- One Hand, One Heart
- The Rumble
- A Boy Like That
- Finale Music