There’s a Place for Us: BSO to Perform Music from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story


Photograph courtesy of MGM Media Licensing

When he died in 1990, Lawrence native Leonard Bernstein felt that he had not lived up to his potential as a serious composer. It’s hard to agree with him, especially when you rewatch the 1961 film version of West Side Story. Viewed today, it emerges as one of the last century’s most complete works of art, featuring landmark choreography by the great Jerome Robbins, a story by Arthur Laurents (who also penned Hitchcock’s Rope), and smoldering performances by Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, and the Oscar-winning George Chakiris. But the best part is Bernstein’s soaring Latin- and jazz-tinged score. Individual songs like “Maria,” “America,” and “Somewhere” are all great compositions on their own, but taken together they sketch the outlines of a unified symphony with a scope as glorious as anything in classical music. This month, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will fill Symphony Hall with Bernstein’s music, while the remastered film plays on high-def screens with the original vocals and dialogue. 2/14–2/16