Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Bernstein’

WEST SIDE STORY – Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim

December 14, 2021 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Stephen Sondheim died aged 91, just a couple of weeks ago, the world of musical theater lost one of its best and most beloved practitioners. Although he was well-known for many of the scores he wrote himself – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, many others – possibly his most beloved work by the general public was the one on which he “only” wrote the lyrics: West Side Story. On it Sondheim collaborated with the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, creating a then-contemporary version of Romeo & Juliet transposed from renaissance-era Italy to 1950s New York, replacing the Montagus and the Capulets with street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. It debuted on stage in 1957, and then was turned into a screen musical in 1961 by co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. That film went on to become one of the most successful and popular Hollywood musicals in history, and eventually won ten Oscars, including Best Picture. And now, 60 years later, we have a new version of the same story, directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. Read more…

ON THE WATERFRONT – Leonard Bernstein

April 17, 2017 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Elia Kazan and novelist/playwright Arthur Miller sought to bring to the big screen a tough and gritty tale of New Jersey longshoremen who struggled to make a living in the late 1940s against mobsters and corrupt union officials. When they could not find any traction with the studios, Miller moved on, but Kazan never gave up on the idea. When he came upon a new screenplay by Budd Schulberg based upon a series of Pulitzer Prize winning articles “Crime on the Waterfront” by Malcolm Johnson, his hopes were rekindled. Well Kazan purchased the film rights and he and Schulberg pitched the screenplay to studio executive Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox, but were rebuffed, with him saying, “Who’s going to care about a bunch of sweaty longshoremen?” Undeterred, Kazan sought out independent producer Sam Spiegel who managed to strike a deal with Columbia Pictures. For the film Kazan brought in a cast for the ages with Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, Karl Malden as Father Barry, Lee Cobb as Johnny Friendly, Rod Steiger as Charlie Malloy, and Eve Marie Saint as Edie Doyle. Read more…