West Side Story
"West Side Story," which opened on September 26,1957, is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo And Juliet." The musical transplants Shakespeare's young lovers from the Italian city of Verona to the streets of New York where they are doomed by social conditions they cannot control. Shakespeare's feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, have become two feuding neighborhood gangs, the Sharks and the Jets. The Jets consider themselves true Americans because they are white and of European origins, while the Sharks, Hispanic and of Puerto Rican ancestry, are the newcomers to the neighborhood. The powerful plot is driven by the turbulence and tension that erupts between the two gangs. But amidst the violence and hatred, the beautiful but doomed love of Tony and Maria blossoms. The musical covers a period of only two days, and scenes blend into one another as the inevitable progression of tragic events unfolds.
The world that "West Side Story" depicts is that of the 1950's, but that world is still with us today. Gangs still war brutally for a piece of neighborhood turf. Bigotry and racism still trigger hatred and murder. Love still struggles to survive in a violent world.
The music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim has transformed Shakespeare's famous tragedy of star-crossed lovers, into a monumental, classic work of American musical theatre with a powerful and timeless message for audiences around the world.
Pace Academy Fine Arts Center
966 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30327
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