“West Side Story” had its premiere on Monday night. The scene was somewhat bittersweet. The legendary lyricist of the original musical, Stephen Sondheim, had just passed away days earlier at the age of 91. The premiere took place at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, appropriately in the proximity of Broadway.
Just before the lights went down to begin the screening of the film, director Steven Spielberg paid tribute to the writer. His long speech gave thanks for Sondheim’s talents and contributions. He said the two became friends during the production of the movie. The New York Post reported on the event.
“His amazing work for ‘West Side Story’ [in 1957] first put him on the map and launched a career that would completely redraw that map, reinvent the musical and theater and create a body of work that beyond any doubt is as immortal as anything made by a mortal can be.
Stephen was a big part of the making of our film ‘West Side Story,’ from the earliest screenplay drafts to every recording session, which Steve attended without fail. Listening with his eyes closed, he’d sway, he’d swoon or he’d grimace and flinch. So, I caught myself watching myself watching Steve’s expressions sometimes more than the actors, because they perfectly reflected what everyone was doing.”
Spielberg said that he was ranked #2 among those with the initials “S.S.” He wouldn’t have had it any other way. In fact, he insisted on it.
West Side Story hits theaters in the U.S. on December 10, 2021. The ambitious musical is one of the most beloved of all time. Fans are excited to see the legendary director Steven Spielberg’s take on this classic of the stage.
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