Director Ivo van Hove will stage a major new production of West Side Story for Broadway next season, with new choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. The revival, produced by Scott Rudin, will begin performances December 10, 2019, with an official opening night of February 6, 2020, at a theater to be announced.
“This is Ivo van Hove’s first Broadway musical,” said Stephen Sondheim, the classic musical’s lyricist, “and I’m eager to see what he does with it. What keeps theater alive over time is reinterpretation, and when that reinterpretation is as invigorating as his productions of A View from the Bridge and The Crucible, it makes for something to look forward to with excitement.”
The new production of the 1957 Jerome Robbins/Arthur Laurents/Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim classic, which was adapted for the screen in 1961 (see photo above) was announced today by Rudin.
David Saint, literary executor of the Arthur Laurents Estate, added in a statement, “Arthur always believed the only reason to revive West Side Story on Broadway was to bring a new perspective to the material. Ivo van Hove is sure to do just that.”
Jamie Bernstein, speaking on behalf of Leonard Bernstein, said, “The Bernstein Office and siblings are thrilled at this opportunity to see West Side Story staged anew in its own location, New York City. This show’s theme of love destroyed by hatred and intolerance is as poignant today as it was in Shakespeare’s time – but the story line involving the mistreatment of Puerto Rican immigrants makes West Side Story more timely now than ever. ‘Nobody knows in America/Puerto Rico’s IN America!’”
Also on the creative team will be van Hove’s longtime collaborator Jan Versweyveld, handling scenery and lighting design.
Van Hove’s won the 2016 Tony Award for best director for his A View From The Bridge, which also took that year’s Best Revival of a play Tony. His other Broadway credits include The Crucible, and his staging of the David Bowie-Enda Walsh Lazarus premiered Off Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in November 2015, becoming one of Bowie’s last projects.
Van Hove also directed Network and Hedda Gabler at London’s National Theatre. His staging of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge played in London as well as on Broadway.
Casting for West Side Story was not announced.
The beloved musical is also getting a re-do by Steven Spielberg, who will direct a new movie version with a script by his Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner. The 20th Century Fox production held casting calls in New York and Orlando within the last few months.
The original ’61 film version was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and starred Natalie Wood, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, Richard Beymer and George Chakiris. Among its 10 Oscars were Best Picture and Best Director. Chakiris and Moreno won Oscars for their supporting roles.
The ’57 Broadway production was conceived, directed and choreographed by Robbins as a modern telling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with a book by Laurents, music by Bernstein and lyrics by Sondheim. The staging lost the Best Musical Tony Award to The Music Man, but won for Best Choreography and Best Scenic Design.
Among the musicals songs, any of which have become American standards, are “Maria,” “America,” “Somewhere,” “Jet Song,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Something’s Coming.”