Gateway Playhouse had already been in business 16 years when "West Side Story" opened on Broadway in 1957 with its all-star creative team. Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Jerome Robbins -- composer, librettist and choreographer -- were show veterans by then. But lyricist Stephen Sondheim, then 27, was a Broadway rookie. The New York gang story inspired by "Romeo and Juliet" won Tonys for choreography and set design but lost to "The Music Man" for best musical. Gateway's 1957 season featured Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" less than a year after the full two-act drama premiered on London's West End. Also that summer: "Witness for the Prosecution," "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" and such forgotten titles as "Champagne Complex" and "Anniversary Waltz." Gateway opens its 70th anniversary season with a traditional "West Side Story" production -- its fifth since 1976 -- rather than emulating the recent Broadway revival, sung partly in Spanish.
WHEN | WHERE Opens 8 p.m. Wednesday, also 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, through May 28 at Gateway Playhouse, 215 South Country Rd., Bellport
INFO $51 to $57, students $25; gatewayplayhouse.com, 631-286-1133
World-class concert pianist Emanuel Ax -- an audience favorite at Tilles -- returns for a solo recital. His program features Schubert Impromptus, Opus 142; his posthumously published Sonata, Opus 120, plus Chopin's Barcarolle; Three Mazurkas; Nocturnes, Opus 27, and Scherzo No. 2, Opus 31. You might expect Strauss or Mendelssohn for an encore. Among Ax's most recent recordings is Richard Strauss' "Enoch Arden," narrated by Patrick Stewart. And on an upcoming release, Ax performs the Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. But given his recent attention to living composers, don't be surprised if he favors one of the premieres he performed by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng and Melinda Wagner. Ax won solo Grammys for the second and third of his cycle of Haydn's voluminous piano sonatas, and shared Grammys with cellist Ma on their series of Beethoven and Brahms recordings.
INFO $32 to $77; tillescenter.org, 516-299-3100
It's quite the challenge, encapsulating the 50-year career of a titan in 20th-century photography within the space of two galleries. But the Heckscher Museum of Art gives it a shot. "Edward Weston: Life Work" draws upon the private collection -- acquired in part from Weston's family -- by Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg, who consider Weston (1886-1958) "the Picasso of photography." The artist reserved what he considered his best prints for his family. The show focuses on the Weston's fascination with nature and its influence on the human experience. His goal was rarely a literal recording of a scene, whether still life, portrait or nude.
WHEN | WHERE Opens Sunday. Through July 17 at the Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, until 8:30 p.m. the first Friday of each month
INFO $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 students, free for children 10 and younger, discounts for Huntington residents; heckscher.org, 631-351-3250