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Making of the Great Broadway Musical Mega-Hits: West Side Story (The Great Broadway Musicals) Paperback – January 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: The Great Broadway Musicals
  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Mosaic Press (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0889626529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889626522
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Making of West Side Story sparkles. It captures the strained atmosphere of auditions, the tortures of the tryouts, the disappointments and occasional triumphs. -- The Spires --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Keith Garebian is an award winning author whose books have been bought by the Bertelsmann/Doubleday book clubs. He lives in Toronto and is the author of 11 books.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Melanie N. Lee on July 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
As I was writing a term paper about Broadway musicals a few years ago, I found The Making of West Side Story very helpful to my research. The book tells about the creation of the idea by Jerome Robbins and the subsequent collaboration with Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim. It tells of deep research into gang warfare, of grueling rehearsals with the oft-cold Robbins (in constrast to the gentler Bernstein), and of startled reactions to this unusual musical. It gives great insights into the motivations of the characters, the construction of the plot, and the choices of the lyrics and tunes.
My only complaint is that this book gives no proper respect to the excellent movie version; it refuses to allow for the differences between the stage and the screen. (Note: I did see the 1979 Broadway revival, as well as high school productions, and have enjoyed the movie umpteen times.) Otherwise, The Making of West Side Story is highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on February 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting account of how a team put together a provocative and innovative musical tragedy, bucking the trend of syrupy and simpler musicals for 1950s Broadway. Leonard Bernstein (for music), Stephen Sondheim (for lyrics) and Jerome Robbins (dance and direction) formed the nucleus, but there were also a playwrite, and other specialists and actors who all collaborated. The principals took a substantial risk in their budding careers and forged ahead confident of their inventiveness. The result is Broadway history, which opened the way to treating a myriad of other socially relevant subjects in later years. Though the music is what is remembered best now, it is truly a multi-media event that was pioneering in its time.
I read this because I am writing teaching materials for business execs to study, as a case of effective, if unorthodox, management. That is only one of the many many levels n which it can be read. The author offers a wonderful panorama of the dance, music, and acting that was current - and changed by this musical tradegy - at the time.
It appears that Garebian used only written sources to write this. As many of the participants were alive at least during the lat decade, this limits the account in unfortunate ways. But is it well written and a spur to read more elsewhere.
If you are interested, I would recommend this. If not, go to the biographies of the participants. Nonetheless, it is a solid view into a unique collaboration.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melanie N. Lee on July 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
As I was writing a term paper about Broadway musicals a few years ago, I found The Making of West Side Story very helpful to my research. The book tells about the creation of the idea by Jerome Robbins and the subsequent collaboration with Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim. It tells of deep research into gang warfare, of grueling rehearsals with the oft-cold Robbins (in constrast to the gentler Bernstein), and of startled reactions to this unusual musical. My only complaint about this book is that it gives no proper respect to the movie version; it refuses to allow for the differences between the stage and the screen. Otherwise, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Schneider VINE VOICE on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a flawed book, but still interesting. There were a few errors:

• The author refers to Oscar Hammerstein as “the renowned musical composer”.
• The author refers to “the grime, seedy Bronx streets and alleys” of the movie, whereas the streets were Manhattan (Lincoln Center area) and East Harlem.
• The author [rightfully] criticizes the lyrics of “Tonight”, but says “It is difficult to believe that these are lines composed by Sondheim, for they betray an immaturity of ideas and imagery.” It would be less difficult to believe of Bernstein, who probably wrote those “immature” words.

There is no mention of the fact that Bernstein did write many of the lyrics before Sondheim was brought on board to help out. Nor is there any mention that “Cool” and “Gee, Officer Krupke” were shifted in the movie version to make more sense than they had in the original.

On the other hand, he does make some interesting observations:

• “In the movie version…many [dances] have a packaged look, as the dancers keep dancing for visual effect rather than to advance the story.”
• “The singing [in the movie version] was satisfactory but never brilliant, and it was far too obvious that neither Wood nor Beymer was actually producing the sounds. Marni Nixon’s beautiful vocalization had no relation to Wood’s accent or timbre, and Jim Bryant’s dubbing for Beymer had more power than the actor’s histrionics.”
• “Hollywood once again revealed its gross insensitivity to the integrity of a Broadway musical.”
I learned some things from the book, however. For example, I don’t think I ever knew that “One Hand, One Heart” was originally written for Cunegonde to sing in CANDIDE, and that “Gee, Officer Krupke” was a melody written for that show, too.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Lucarelli on June 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Maybe this title is the latest and best modern view of "West Side Story". Amazing and surprise you'll have spending your time reading it.
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