Deadline, Playbill

Why the Upcoming Broadway Revival of ‘West Side Story’ Is Eagerly Anticipated

Jul 12, 2018  •  Post A Comment

News of ‘West Side Story’s’ return to Broadway was huge in the first place, but what’s ratcheting up anticipation further for the upcoming production is the presence of hot director Ivo van Hove.

Deadline quotes Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics for the musical, saying: “This is Ivo van Hove’s first Broadway musical, and I’m eager to see what he does with it. What keeps theater alive over time is reinterpretation, and when that reinterpretation is as invigorating as his productions of ‘A View From the Bridge’ and ‘The Crucible,’ it makes for something to look forward to with excitement.”

Deadline notes that Van Hove “won the 2016 Tony Award for best director for his ‘A View From the Bridge,’ which also took that year’s Best Revival of a play Tony. His other Broadway credits include ‘The Crucible,’ and his staging of the David Bowie-Enda Walsh ‘Lazarus’ premiered Off Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in November 2015, becoming one of Bowie’s last projects.”

Playbill reports that Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker will choreograph the production, which is scheduled to officially open in February 2020 following performances beginning in December 2019.

“The news of the Scott Rudin-produced revival arrives as Steven Spielberg and ‘Angels in America’ scribe Tony Kushner move ahead with their big screen remake of the 1957 musical, which introduced audiences to the Jets, Sharks, star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, and such songs as ‘Tonight,’ ‘America’ and ‘I Feel Pretty.’ The original film adaptation won ten Oscars including Best Picture in 1962,” Playbill notes.

The Playbill report adds: “The musical, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents, has seen a recent wave of presentations worldwide as part of centennial celebrations of both Bernstein and Robbins. The last Broadway revival opened at the Palace Theatre in 2009, earning ‘Moulin Rouge!’ star Karen Olivo a Tony for her performance as Anita.”


  1. Good god, once was enough. A silly film about gangs sashaying around the alleys. Abominable except for “America.” A cool song.

  2. Of the classic musicals (before the Andrew Lloyd Webber era) this is one of the best along with My Fair Lady. It is a real shame to call this a silly film about gangs. Apparently you have never seen it live. It is a great story still relevant today as we talk about assimilation of immigrants.

  3. The original 1961 film version of West Side Story is my all time favorite movie, hands down. I’ve seen it more times than I’m able or willing to count, and I never get tired of seeing this great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic movie-musical over and over again, whether it be on TV or on a great big, wide screen, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low, as it’s really and truly meant to be viewed, and is much more of a treat, and sharing the whole experience with other people, whether I know them or not. This film does not need a re-make. In fact, I think it’s totally unnecessary, I’m not happy about what I’ve seen of it so far, and I will vote my pocketbook and not go to see Spielberg’s reboot/remake of the film version of West Side Story when it comes to the movie theatres at around Christmastime of 2020.

    Reviving something such as West Side Story on stage is a whole other matter, because live theatre is a totally different media. Creating different stage versions with different people, different scenery, and different costumes is one thing, but a movie is what it is, and should not be remade.

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