By Peter Alexander May 1 at 5:40 p.m.
When first announced as part of the coming 2018–19 CU Presents season, Eklund Opera’s major fall production was listed somewhat mysteriously as Title TBA, music by Leonard Bernstein.
In case you haven’t guessed, the title, which can NBA (now be announced), is West Side Story. As noted previously, contractual arrangements did not allow for the title to be revealed until May 1.
The production will be part of the year-long, globe-spanning celebration of of the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth. Boulder has already seen a sold-out concert performance of West Side Story presented by the Boulder Philharmonic and Central City Opera (April 28).
Later this month the Colorado Symphony will present music by Bernstein paired with one of his favorite composers, Gustav Mahler (May 25–27), and several Bernstein works will be featured as part of this summer’s Colorado Music Festival. It is not difficult to find other Bernstein tributes at summer festivals around the country, including Bravo! Vail and the Aspen Music Festival.
When it first appeared in 1957, West Side Story was truly genre-changing for Broadway. A New York-based updating of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the show did not shy away from serious social issues or a tragic ending. Its book, lyrics, music and dance were conceived not as separate pieces but as a unified work of art, which therefore required a cast equally skilled as actors, dancers and singers. Bernstein’s music was unusually complex and difficult for both players and singers, and Jerome Robbins’ choreography set a new standard for singer-dancers.
With the combined team of Bernstein, Robbins and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story is certainly one of the most influential musicals in the history of Broadway. It has also become one of the most loved Broadway shows in history, revived by theaters and opera companies world wide. And be warned: it often sells out.
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West Side Story
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Arthur Laurents; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on a concept by Jerome Robbins
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27
2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28
Subscription tickets 2018–19 CU Presents performances, including West Side Story and other Eklund Opera performances, are available here.
Tickets to individual performances will be available starting Aug. 20.
Edited 5/1 to replace generic West Side Story poster image with art created for CU Presents by Janalee Robison.