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West Side Story: Royal Albert Hall

by OnStage

Celebrating 50 years as a motion picture, the musical masterpiece that is West Side Story came to the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 23rd June 2012. Projected on to a huge screen at the venue, attendees could relive the film in the grandiose arena of the Royal Albert Hall, experiencing its sumptuous acoustics and one of a kind atmosphere. Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, this exciting live addition to the screening would no doubt enhance the experience for those coming to see the classic musical and make it a night to remember.

Telling the story of two crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, who against the odds must fight to ensure their love survives amidst the fierce rivalry and tension that exists between the two neighbourhood gangs they have ties to, the Sharks and the Jets. Set in mid 1950s in New York’s Upper West Side, the rivalry between the two gangs explores the racial tension that existed within this time in America with the Sharks originating from Puerto Rico and the Jets being of a white working class background.

A classic love story of boy and girl, its Shakespearean roots of Romeo and Juliet were brought to musical life by the hugely talented musical pairing of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. Featuring timeless songs the likes of “Maria”, “Tonight”, “America” and “I Feel Pretty”, the film went on to win 10 Academy Awards and is widely regarded as one of the greatest movie musicals of all time. An outstanding performance from Natalie Wood, her portrayal of Maria is one of musical theatre’s most renowned displays from an actor or actress and is regarded in the same breadth as other memorable musical performances the likes of Julie Andrews’ Maria in The Sound of Music and Liza Minelli’s Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

With hundreds heading towards the Royal Albert Hall to fall in love all over again with Tony and Maria and the story of West Side Story, WinkBall video reporters spoke to attendees of this 50 year celebratory screening of the film. Finding out what has helped West Side Story remain a classic, fans were asked what they love about the film and how they feel the live orchestra will make a difference to the picture.

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