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West Side Story (1957 Original Broadway Cast) Cast Recording, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, Extra tracks, September 15, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The musical is, of course, one of the most beloved of all time; the original cast recording went platinum; this reissue features in-depth liner notes, previously unseen photos, memorabilia, cast listings and a whopping 10 bonus tracks!

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What is there left to say about this musical, deservedly one of the most famous in the canon? Created by what lyricist Stephen Sondheim described as "a unique concatenation of people" (Leonard Bernstein, Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins), the show remains as explosively vibrant, daring, and modern as it was decades ago. Bernstein integrated Latin percussion and jazz into his electrifying score, dazzlingly translating New York's unique vitality into a musical idiom. West Side Story has been adapted for jazz and interpreted by pop and opera singers, but you owe it to yourself to check out the original version to see what the fuss was all about. This new reissue adds over 20 minutes of "symphonic dances" as well as liner notes and production photos. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Performer: Carol Lawrence, Larry Kert, Chita Rivera
  • Audio CD (September 15, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Masterworks Broadway
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • ASIN: B000056TB2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,159 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAME on October 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
WEST SIDE STORY is indeed one of the greatest Broadway musicals. Rarely has it been better-sung than on the glittering 1957 original cast album, now reissued on the Columbia Broadway Masterworks label.
The young, vibrant cast was made up mostly of unknown actors, who all went on to make big names for themselves on the stage. The musical launched the career of triple-threat Chita Rivera, as the fiery Anita. Carol Lawrence (SARATOGA, SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING) played Maria whilst the role of Tony was essayed by a young Larry Kert (COMPANY, FOLLIES).
The Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score is simply gorgeous and includes "Maria", "One Hand One Heart", "Somewhere" and "The Jet Song". Chita Rivera adds her brassy belt to the showstopping "America"; Carol Lawrence's clarion soprano is perfectly showcased in "I Feel Pretty"; Larry Kert is the picture of youthful longing in "Something's Coming". Equally thrilling is the energetic "Quintet", which is a major highlight of the colorful score.
Chita Rivera went on to star in the equally-successful London production, and went on to appear in both the Broadway and London companies of BYE BYE BIRDIE. Other lauded Broadway appearances came in BAJOUR and her Tony-winning roles in THE RINK and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. As of this review's writing, she's winning a whole new generation of fans in the 2003 revival of Maury Yeston's NINE.
WEST SIDE STORY continues to be recognised as one of Broadway's landmark musicals. This new remastered edition of the peerless 1957 production is a must-have in every cast album collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Recorded just days after WEST SIDE STORY opened on Broadway this original cast disc is one of the best from the golden days of Goddard Lieberson at Columbia Records. He knew exactly how to translate a stage musical to records. The prologue needed more excitement so he added the sonds of the gang members and had the orchestra increase the tempo. Not every note would fit (the Lp was very long for its day: 57 minutes!) so some trims were made here and there but done with such skill that they are hardly noticed. On the other hand, the entire "Somewhere" Ballet is heard here. It was not used in the movie.
Some people prefer the movie soundtrack for its beefier orchestrations. It too is a very fine recording of the score. But this is the first, the original. The way WEST SIDE STORY sounded when it premiered.
Sony's reissue sounds sensational: crisp, and clear with every orchestral texture. The bonus tracks are a symphonic suite of dances that Bernstein extracted for concert performances.
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Format: Audio CD
Although I have to admit to having had,and still having a mad crush on Richard Beymer(Tony), The OBC of West Side Story is far and above the movie recording.(Yes, I do know that it was dubbed). Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence are magical as Maria and Tony, and the rest of the cast is super,especially Chita Rivera as Anita.Many times over the years,when there was a Broadway funs raiser for PBS , you could count on Larry Kert to sing "Maria" as beautifully as when it was first recorded and performed over forty years ago. West Side Story has to represent the best example for using the ORIGINAL PERFORMERS(Sorry Richard!)instead of big Hollywood names. Bravo Bravo Bravo!
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Format: Audio CD
This recording is as jolting, energetic, electric, beautiful, and
moving as the original Broadway production it records undoubtedly was. The orchestrations - partially by bernstein himself - are nervy, edgy, jazzy, and exciting one minute, and serenely lovely the next doing wonderful justice to one of the great musical scores written for Broadway. The lyrics - the first Stephen Sondheim wrote that made it to Broadway - may have flaws, but contain seeds of the emotion and wit that would come to the forefront of his later works. And can anyone ever top this cast?
Will anybody ever sing "Maria," "Tonight," and especially "Something's Coming" with the honest emotion and clear, pure voice of Larry Kert? And although it's often difficult to understand what she's saying, will anyone have quite as beautiful a voice or be, in some way, quite as touching as Carol Lawrence as Maria? Will anyone ever sing "America" with as much vivaciousness and comic timing and "A Boy Like That" with as much power as Chita Rivera did when she played Anita, the role that made her a star? Will there ever be a group of Jets and Sharks who are as good at mixing boyish innocence with hardened toughness? It's also very interesting to hear the stage versions of "America," "Somewhere," and "A Boy Like That/I Have A Love" and note the stage placements of "Cool," "Gee, Officer Krupke" and "I Feel Pretty" and compare them with the versions and placements in the movie version. GET THIS!!!! YOu may love the movie already, but you just might find yourself loving this even more.
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Format: Audio CD
I was born six years after West Side Story premiered on Broadway, and I have only seen the movie version, so for me this CD is the next best thing to building a time machine to see the original stage production of the Jerome Robbins/Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim modern take on Romeo and Juliet.
While an original cast recording is no substitute for having seen West Side Story on the New York stage, hearing the cast (which included Larry Kert, Chita Rivera, and Carol Lawrence) gives 21st Century listeners an aural glimpse into the brilliance of composer Bernstein and lyricist Sondheim's musical constructs.
While I love the "standards" associated with West Side Story (Tonight, Maria, Somewhere), my favorite songs are Something's Coming, which reflects Tony's optimistic outlook as he looks to the future rather than to his past as a member of the Jets. The complicated quintet "Tonight" expresses the conflicting dreams and desires of the major characters and mixes the romantic aspects of the two pairs of lovers (Tony and Maria; Anita and Bernardo) as well as the hostility between the "American" Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks.
My favorite song, Gee Officer Krupke, is a sardonic ode to the cluelessness of adults as seen through the cynical eyes of teenage gang members. I remember this song vividly because when I was a member of the glee club at South Miami High, Gee Officer Krupke was in our repertoire for the first concert I performed in. Its wry humor never failed to make us laugh while we were learning it, and afterwards I wanted to hear the entire playlist from West Side Story.
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