West Side Story



‘West Side Story’ is a name that many theatre and music lovers are familiar with. With its iconic soundtrack, ranging from upbeat dance numbers to beautiful ballads, it truly speaks to many people. It was inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and is set in the mid-1950s in the Upper West Side of Manhatten, in a multiracial, blue-collar neighbourhood. The plot revolves around the rivalry between rivalry gangs of different ethnic background, the Jets and the Sharks. At the heart of the plot is the love story between Tony a Jet, and Maria, a Shark. Therefore, with Leonard Bernstein’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics, the musical remains one of the most iconic of all of the Shakespeare adaptations on the big screen.


On December 10th, 2021, the Steven Spielberg adaptation came out, and many have realised that it is more than ‘just another musical’. It acknowledges issues such as racial unrest, urban gang violence, immigration and altercations with the police. It highlights that love should have no barriers, and it is tragic that we do. That same message from 50 years ago, is still relevant now, at an age of protest against discrimination.


Here are some reviews on the Spielberg adaptation:

Ariana DeBose as Anita has been an early critical favourite for a reason: She beams off the screen like a ray of sunshine, all verve and warmth. You can’t look away from her when she dances. And Mike Faist digs into doomed, awful Riff to find the layers of a whole tragic backstory, implying most of it through pirouettes and crooked smile alone.