Somewhere in the world, the same old story happens again and again: two people from different backgrounds meet and fall in love, promising to be eternally faithful. But their dream of shared happiness – in a different time and place – is not to be fulfilled. Their fate is sealed by intolerance and hatred, and death is the inevitable outcome.
West Side Story is an emotional work through and through. It speaks of love, of flirting and fooling around, of dancing, laughing and dreaming. And it is about the “enemy”, the one who is different, who does not belong, who offends your sense of honor and who must be vanquished: gang warfare in a run-down district on the Upper West Side of New York.
All of these people are young. They don’t intend to become boring and conventional like the adults. Why should they? Their prospects for the future look just as gray as the backyards of the dreary tenements they live in. But the streets are their territory, their home, their nest, and they will fight to defend them. Faintly, tentatively, a brighter ray pierces the sallow neon light: “Somewhere”.
West Side Story has lost nothing of its topicality in fifty years. After the sensational debut of the masterpiece at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway in September 1957 and the highly acclaimed European premiere in London’s West End, the superb film version played to an audience of millions all over the world.