Leonard Bernstein had first been approached in 1949 with a view to producing a musical version of Romeo & Juliet, a proposal that would finally become West Side story some eight years later, albeit with a different lyricist than that had originally been suggested. If the journey from idea to stage was a long and laborious one, then the end result showed it have been a journey worth making. The show opened to considerable fanfare in Washington DC and Philadelphia before hitting Broadway in September 1957. It would go on to run for 723 performances before hitting the road on tour and then returning once again for a further 253 performances. One of the most famous of all musicals, it has remained popular over the following fifty years, thanks to countless revivals and a film adaptation.