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West Side Story(2021) [2021]

West Side Story is a 2021 American musical romantic drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay by Tony Kushner. It is the second feature-length adaptation of the 1957 stage musical of the same name.[9][10] It stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler in her film debut with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, and Rita Moreno in supporting roles. Moreno, who starred in the 1961 film adaptation, also served as an executive producer alongside Kushner.[3] The film features music composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

West Side Story(2021)


West Side Story was initially scheduled to be distributed in the United States on December 18, 2020 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through the 20th Century Studios label,[4][65] but on September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney delayed the release date to December 10, 2021, which coincided with the 60th anniversary of the release of the 1961 film.[15] The film had an exclusive 45-day theatrical run, including engagements in Dolby Cinema and IMAX.[66][67][68] An IMAX fan event, with a live Q&A with Spielberg and the cast, took place in IMAX theaters nationwide on December 6.[69] Deadline Hollywood reported that Disney considered a limited release strategy for the film before expanding into wide release, but opted not to due to ramifications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the exhibition market.[70]

Outside the United States and Canada, the film made $4.4 million in its opening weekend from 37 international markets, of which $1.3 million came from IMAX. The highest-grossing countries were the United Kingdom ($1.7 million), France ($1.1 million), Germany ($300,000), Russia, and the Netherlands (both $200,000).[100] The film earned $2.1 million in its second weekend,[101] $1.7 million in its third,[102] $1.9 million in its fourth,[103] $1.6 million in its fifth,[104] and another $1.6 million in its sixth.[105]

The original book Laurents wrote closely adhered to Romeo and Juliet, but the characters based on Shakespeare's Rosaline and the parents of the doomed lovers were eliminated early on. Later the scenes related to Juliet's faking her death and committing suicide also were deleted. Language posed a problem; profanity was uncommon in the theater at the time, and slang expressions were avoided for fear they would be dated by the time the production opened. Laurents ultimately invented what sounded like real street talk but actually was not: "cut the frabba-jabba", for example.[13] Sondheim converted long passages of dialogue, and sometimes just a simple phrase like "A boy like that would kill your brother", into lyrics. With the help of Oscar Hammerstein, Laurents convinced Bernstein and Sondheim to move "One Hand, One Heart", which he considered too pristine for the balcony scene, to the scene set in the bridal shop, and as a result "Tonight" was written to replace it. Laurents felt that the building tension needed to be alleviated in order to increase the impact of the play's tragic outcome, so comic relief in the form of Officer Krupke was added to the second act. He was outvoted on other issues: he felt the lyrics to "America" and "I Feel Pretty" were too witty for the characters singing them, but they stayed in the score and proved to be audience favorites. Another song, "Kid Stuff", was added and quickly removed during the Washington, D.C., tryout when Laurents convinced the others it was helping tip the balance of the show into typical musical comedy.[14]

Prince began cutting the budget and raising money. Robbins then announced he did not want to choreograph the show, but changed his mind when Prince agreed to an eight-week dance rehearsal period (instead of the customary four), since there was to be more dancing in West Side Story than in any previous Broadway show,[16] and allowed Robbins to hire Peter Gennaro as his assistant.[21] Originally, when considering the cast, Laurents wanted James Dean for the lead role of Tony, but the actor soon died. Sondheim found Larry Kert and Chita Rivera, who created the roles of Tony and Anita, respectively. Getting the work on stage was still not easy. Bernstein said:

Everyone told us that [West Side Story] was an impossible project ... And we were told no one was going to be able to sing augmented fourths, as with "Ma-ri-a" ... Also, they said the score was too rangy for pop music ... Besides, who wanted to see a show in which the first-act curtain comes down on two dead bodies lying on the stage?... And then we had the really tough problem of casting it, because the characters had to be able not only to sing but dance and act and be taken for teenagers. Ultimately, some of the cast were teenagers, some were 21, some were 30 but looked 16. Some were wonderful singers but couldn't dance very well, or vice versa ... and if they could do both, they couldn't act.[22]

There were problems with Oliver Smith's designs. His painted backdrops were stunning, but the sets were, for the most part, either shabby looking or too stylized. Prince refused to spend money on new construction, and Smith was obliged to improve what he had as best he could with very little money to do it.[25] The pre-Broadway run in Washington, D.C., was a critical and commercial success, although none of the reviews mentioned Sondheim, listed as co-lyricist, who was overshadowed by the better-known Bernstein. Bernstein magnanimously removed his name as co-author of the lyrics, although Sondheim was uncertain he wanted to receive sole credit for what he considered to be overly florid contributions by Bernstein. Robbins demanded and received a "Conceived by" credit, and used it to justify his making major decisions regarding changes in the show without consulting the others. As a result, by opening night on Broadway, none of his collaborators were talking to him.[26]

At the dance, after introductions, the teenagers begin to dance; soon a challenge dance is called ("Dance at the Gym"), during which Tony and Maria (who aren't taking part in the challenge dance) see each other across the room and are drawn to each other. They dance together, forgetting the tension in the room, and fall in love, but Bernardo pulls his sister from Tony and sends her home. Riff and Bernardo agree to meet for a War Council at Doc's, a drug store which is considered neutral ground, but meanwhile, an infatuated and happy Tony finds Maria's building and serenades her outside her bedroom ("Maria"). She appears on her fire escape, and the two profess their love for one another ("Tonight"). Meanwhile, Anita, Rosalia, and the other Shark girls discuss the differences between the territory of Puerto Rico and the mainland United States of America, with Anita defending America, and Rosalia yearning for Puerto Rico ("America").

The Jets get antsy while waiting for the Sharks inside Doc's drugstore. Riff helps them let out their aggression ("Cool"). The Sharks arrive to discuss weapons to use in the rumble. Tony suggests "a fair fight" (fists only), which the leaders agree to, despite the other members' protests. Bernardo believes that he will fight Tony, but must settle for fighting Diesel, Riff's second-in-command, instead. This is followed by a monologue by the ineffective Lt. Schrank trying to find out the location of the rumble. Tony tells Doc about Maria. Doc is worried for them while Tony is convinced that nothing can go wrong; he is in love.

Doc relates the news to Tony, who has been dreaming of heading to the countryside to have children with Maria. Feeling there is no longer anything to live for, Tony leaves to find Chino, begging for him to shoot him as well. Just as Tony sees Maria alive, Chino arrives and shoots Tony. The Jets, Sharks, and adults flock around the lovers. Maria holds Tony in her arms (and sings a quiet, brief reprise of "Somewhere") as he dies. Angry at the death of another friend, the Jets move towards the Sharks but Maria takes Chino's gun and tells everyone that "all of [them]" killed Tony and the others because of their hate for each other, and, "Now I can kill too, because now I have hate!" she yells. However, she is unable to bring herself to fire the gun and drops it, crying in grief. Gradually, all the members of both gangs assemble on either side of Tony's body, showing that the feud is over. The Jets and Sharks form a procession, and together carry Tony away, with Maria the last one in the procession.

March 11, 2020, was the show's last performance before production was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of its opening date, it was not eligible for 2020 Tony Award consideration.[67] The production did not reopen, and so its total run was 78 previews and 24 performances.[68]

This is shaping up to be an interesting weekend at the box office, with three movies having a theoretical shot at coming out on top. Our model marginally favors Encanto, which should have a strong hold as Holiday Season hots up. West Side Story is hot on its heels though, and could easily come out on top based on its $800,000 in previews on Thursday. Even Ghostbusters: Afterlife has an outside shot at pulling off a surprise win.More...West Side Story trailerDecember 6th, 2021

Brian Tallerico is the Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

Spielberg's take on this legendary musical is gorgeously shot and brilliantly interpreted, with updates from the 1961 version to be more Latino (if not fully authentically Puerto Rican). The gifted cast is full of musical theater vets, including EGOT winner Rita Moreno as a new character, Valentina. The widow of the original musical/film's drugstore owner Doc, she runs the pharmacy and has taken Tony under her wing since he was released from prison on probation for nearly killing a rival gang member (both details are part of Kushner's substantial additions to the plot, deepening the characterizations). Kushner also adds dialogue between the supporting characters, beefs up the inclusion of Anybodys (Iris Menas) as transgender instead of "just" a tomboy, and tries to deliver the third-act sexual assault at Doc's in a way that forces the Jets to at least acknowledge their crime. The order of the musical numbers changes slightly for the better as well. The showstopper "America" is now set outside, in the Puerto Rican area of the community; "Somewhere" is sung by Valentina (rather than Maria and Tony); and "I Feel Pretty" takes place at the department store where Maria and her friends work the late shift as cleaners. 041b061a72


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