New Girl , unlike O'Neill's play, focuses on the jealousy of the character Marthy and on love's ability to conquer all. The musical ends far more hopefully than the play. The Broadway production opened on May 4, at the 46th Street Theatre , where it ran for performances. The show was written as a star vehicle for Gwen Verdon , who had just had a hit with Damn Yankees and won raves for her portrayal of Anna, a role that showed off her acting, singing and dancing abilities to maximum effect. Composer Bob Merrill was at the beginning of a string of s successes. Griffith and Hal Prince , was well received by both critics and audiences. Verdon, somewhat unusually, had three standbys: one each for acting, singing and dancing.
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The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks, from Puerto Rico , are taunted by the Jets, a white gang. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. The original Broadway production, conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince , marked Sondheim's Broadway debut. It ran for performances before going on tour. Robbins won the Tony Award for his choreography and Oliver Smith won for his scenic designs. The show had an even longer-running London production, a number of revivals and international productions. He proposed that the plot focus on the conflict between an Irish Catholic family and a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan ,  during the Easter— Passover season.
View All the Shows that Opened on Broadway in 1957
But the original — with its lush Leonard Bernstein score, finger-snapping Jerome Robbins choreography and lyrics by a then little-known Stephen Sondheim — was itself hailed as startlingly new almost from its opening night, on Sept. In the years since, The Times has tracked the musical as it moved from stage to screen and back again, touching on the politics of casting; its value as Cold War propaganda; and its relationship with the evolving city whose rhythms and troubles it aimed to capture. The musical was first mentioned in The Times in , but the newspaper was sometimes confused about what it was called. Times readers got their first look at the show on Sept. There had been auditions in East Harlem, The Times noted. Howard A.
For the groundbreaking musical, Bernstein provided a propulsive and rhapsodic score that many celebrate as his greatest achievement as a composer. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts , to Russian-Jewish immigrants in , Bernstein began piano lessons at his own insistence when he was He immediately demonstrated an instinctive talent for music and by age 12 was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. He studied conducting with Fritz Reiner and Serge Koussevitzky and in was hired as an assistant conductor for the New York Philharmonic. In the history of the orchestra, no assistant had been called on to conduct, but on November 14 fate smiled on Bernstein when guest conductor Bruno Walter fell ill.