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West Side Story from Stage to Film: A Revolutionary Musical That Became an Icon

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0181
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Carol Lawrence (right) as Maria sings “I Feel Pretty” in "West Side Story's" original 1957 Broadway production (Fred Fehl/New York)

It was a startling, unheard-of idea: to remake Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy into a musical set in the streets of New York City. Thrilling and controversial, its vibrant score, finger-snapping dancing, and dark themes shook Broadway to its core. It became an Oscar-winning film, then an American theatrical landmark, and now a soon-to-be released film by Steven Spielberg.

Join documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson for a look at West Side Story’s creators—some of the greatest talents of their time—who risked everything, broke all rules, reshaped the American theater, and gave us a contemporary masterpiece, as well as how new interpretations are re-making the show for our times.

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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.