About West Side Story



Basic Facts

Based on : Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Book by: Arthur Laurents

Music by: Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics by:Stephen Sondheim

Directed and Choreographed by: Jerome Robbins


The action takes place on the West Side of new York City during the last days of summer in the 1950's


The Jets The Sharks Adults
Riff, leader Bernardo, leader Doc, Drugstore owner
Tony, Riff's friend Maria, Bernardo's sister Schrank, plainclothes cop
Ice, lieutenant Anita, Bernardo's girlfriend Krupke, Uniformed cop
Action Chino, Bernardo's friend Glad Hand, Announcer at the dance
A-Rab, explosive Pepe, Lieutenant  
Baby John Indio  
Snowboy Rosalia  
Dieel Consuelo  
Anybody's, tomboy    
Graziella, Riff's girlfriend    

The Story

This is the story of a native-born Polish boy (Tony) and a Puerto Rican girl (Maria) who has just arrived in America. It is based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The story is set against the backdrop of clashing street gangs on New York's west side. The two meet and things look good for the young couple until and accident happens with Tony and his sweetheart's brother while trying to break up a rumble. Violence erupts.



West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden THeatre on Sept. 26, 1957 and ran for 732 performances before going on tour. In 1961 the film version features Richard Beyner, Natalie Wood, George Chakiris and Rita Moreno.