Inspired by Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story features contributions by two of the most famous talents in American musical theatre — composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The story itself was written by Arthur Laurents, and concerns a clash between two gangs on New York’s Upper West Side in the 1950s: the Sharks, who are tied to the Puerto Rican community, and the Jets, whose members are Polish-American. Tension flares when the leader of the latter gang falls in love with the sister of the leader of the Sharks.
The musical debuted in 1957, and was pretty ground-breaking as far as its gritty depiction of poverty, racism and working class life in general.
Tonight and Thursday a touring production of the musical will be playing at Conexus Arts Centre. Curtain both nights is at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $47-$87. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s a trailer of sorts from a 2013 production at London’s Sadlers Wells Theatre: