“West Side Story,” the musical about star-crossed lovers on the mean streets of Manhattan that won 10 Oscars, returns to theaters nationwide this weekend.
It’s hard to imagine anyone making a musical about immigrants and gang violence today, but “West Side Story” became a sensation when it first hit Broadway in 1957 and then again when it arrived on screens in 1961. An urban update of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” — set in what is now the high-priced Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan — the film starred Natalie Wood as Maria, a Puerto Rican (!) girl loyal to the Sharks, and Richard Beymer as Tony, part of the Jets. Among the more famous songs by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein are “Tonight,” “Somewhere” and the showstopping “America,” led by supporting actress Oscar winner Rita Moreno. Robert Wise and choreographer Jerome Robbins became the first directing team to win an Oscar.
With an introduction and post-film discussion from Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz, “West Side Story” plays June 24 and 27 at Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, Regal Westbury 12 and AMC Stony Brook 17. Showtimes and ticket prices vary. For more information go to fathomevents.com.