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by Jason Gubbels

June 14, 2014

West Side Stor(ies)

by Jason Gubbels  |  June 14, 2014

With Broadway still buzzing over the recent Tony Awards, it seems a fine time to look back on one of the most beloved and successful American musicals of all time: Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's West Side Story. Just how many productions and revivals of the Romeo and Juliet-inspired NYC street gang romance have been attempted? Since the original 1957 Jerome Robbins production, there have been runs in London, the Best Picture-winning 1961 film adaptation starring Natalie Wood, numerous national tours and two high-profile Broadway revivals, including a 2009 Arthur Laurents production that famously adapted parts of Sondheim's libretto into Spanish ("A Boy Like That" became "Un Hombre Asi").

Our playlist considers all of these productions, revivals and cast recordings, as well as notable versions from the world of pop, jazz and rock, helping to create a shadow soundtrack to this most American of musicals. You'll hear famous renditions from both the original 1957 stage show and the best-selling 1961 film soundtrack (Jim Bryant on "Maria") along with selections from various revivals (Josefina Scaglione and Matt Cavenaugh from 2009), along with Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story personal adaptation. Plus, plenty of razzle-dazzle from Barbra Streisand (dueting with Johnny Mathis on her 1993 Back to Broadway album), jazz impressions from Cal Tjader, Selena's dance pop take on "A Boy Like That," and the discotheque-ready rendition of showstopper "Somewhere" as performed by the Pet Shop Boys on their 1997 Bilingual-promoting single. So whether you're a Shark or a Jet, you'll find something delightful within this West Side Story tribute.

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