Wednesday, November 9, 2011

West Side Story Celebrates 50 Years!

Today on lunch I watched last nights Glee, I have more or less given up on the show, but I watched the episode for two reasons: the Kurt and Blaine first time story, and because they were performing West Side Story for their school musical.  The only reason I would ever continue to watch Glee is because of Naya Rivera who plays Santana her Anita was brilliant, and she is a great singe.  Watching this episode reminded that theaters across the country would be honoring West Side Story's 50th anniversary tonight.

West Side Story is the story of two people Tony and Maria who fall in love. This modern telling of Romeo and Juliet describes not only their love but the story of the Sharks and Jets whose fighting aims to prevent their true love.This memorable movie musical is so heartfelt, raw, and emotional.  The dancing and singing is done so beautifully, and throughout the film I felt Tony and Maria's eternal struggle to find happiness was beautiful.

Rita Moreno who plays Anita gives one of the best performances I have ever seen in a movie musical.  Anita who plays Riff's (Maria's brother) girlfriend is one of the best roles, and she shines especially in the musical number "America."  Some of the other amazing numbers in this film are "Cool", "I feel Pretty" and of course the unessential "Tonight, Tonight."

West Side Story was nominated for nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10.  The film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor-George Chikiris, and Best Supporting Actress-Rita Moreno.  This was the first film to have two Best Director winners, Jerome Robbins and Tim Wise.

The singing for Maria was not done by the actress who played her in the film, Natalie Wood.  The person who actually did the singing was Marni Nixon, and Wood's singing was dubbed.  Many people talk about Wood's voice, but few people ever talk about Ton'y voice being dubbed also.  The person who actually sang for Tony was Jimmy Bryant.

Even with dubbing this films charm is undeniable.  I love the romance, and the dancing gang members.  I always want to be a Shark, and would dance around to this music.  This film is a timeless classic, it was one of the films that inspired my love of musicals.  Happy Anniversary!

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