West Side Story in History

Events in Music

Music Premiere

1957-09-26 Leornard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins' musical "West Side Story" premieres at the Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 732 performances, wins 2 Tony Awards

Theatrical Finale

1959-06-27 "West Side Story" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 734 performances

Film Release

1961-10-18 Film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical "West Side Story", directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, and starring Natalie Wood, debuts (Academy Award - Best Picture, 1962)

Academy Awards

1962-04-09 34th Academy Awards: "West Side Story" (Best Picture, Director, and 8 more), Sophia Loren (Two Women) & Maximilian Schell (Judgement At Nuremberg) win

Birthdays in Music

  • 1911-10-01 Irwin Kostal, American orchestra leader and arranger (West Side Story: The Sound Of Music; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1994)
  • 1914-09-10 Robert Wise, American Academy Award-winning film director (The Day the Earth Stood Still; West Side Story; The Sound Of Music), born in Winchester, Indiana (d. 2005)
  • 1918-07-14 Arthur Laurents, American playwright (West Side Story: Gypsy), and screenwriter (Rope; Anastasia), born in NYC, New York (d. 2011)

Leonard Bernstein

1918-08-25 Leonard Bernstein, American Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning conductor (New York Philharmonic, 1958-69; Israel Philharmonic; London Symphony), and composer (West Side Story; Chichester Psalms), born in Lawrence, Massachusetts (d. 1990)

Jerome Robbins

1918-10-11 Jerome Robbins [Rabinowitz], American Tony and Academy Award-winning theater and ballet choreographer and director (West Side Story; Peter Pan), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 1998)

  • 1928-01-30 Harold Prince, American producer & director (West Side Story, Evita), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2019)
  • 1929-02-22 (Margaret) "Marni" Nixon [McEathron], American soprano singer and film 'ghost voice' (for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady"; Natalie Wood in "West Side Story"; Deborah Kerr in "The King And I"), born in Altadena, California (d. 2016)

Stephen Sondheim

1930-03-22 Stephen Sondheim, American Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning composer and lyricist (West Side Story; Sunday in the Park With George; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Gypsy), born in NYC, New York (d. 2021) [1]

Rita Moreno

1931-12-11 Rita Moreno [Rosita Dolores Alverío], Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress (West Side Story), born in Humacao, Puerto Rico

  • 1933-01-23 Chita Rivera, American actress (West Side Story; Sweet Charity), born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1934-09-05 Carol Lawrence, American actress (West Side Story), born in Melrose Park, Illinois
  • 1934-09-16 George Chakiris, American actor (West Side Story), born in Norwood, Ohio
  • 1934-11-24 Martin Charnin, American Broadway stage singer, dancer (West Side Story), director, and lyricist (Annie), born in New York City (d. 2019)
  • 1936-04-24 (Thomas) "Tucker" Smith, American stage and screen dancer, singer and actor (West Side Story - "Ice"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1988)
  • 1937-02-18 Alan Johnson, American screen and stage choreographer (The Producers - "Springtime for Hitler"; Legs Diamond; 3 Emmy Awards), director (To Be Or Not To Be), and dancer (West Side Story), born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (d. 2018)
  • 1938-07-20 Natalie Wood [Zacharenko], American actress (Miracle on 34th Street; Gypsy; Rebel Without A Cause; West Side Story), born in San Francisco, California (d. 1981)
  • 1939-02-21 Richard Beymer, American stage actor and singer (West Side Story; Diary of Anne Frank), born in Avoca, Iowa
  • 1991-01-25 Ariana DeBose, American actress and singer (West Side Story), born in North Carolina
  • 2001-05-03 Rachel Zegler, American actress, singer and YouTuber (West Side Story), born in Hackensack, New Jersey

Deaths in Music

  • 1981-11-29 Natalie Wood [Zacharenko], American actress (Miracle on 34th Street; Gypsy; Rebel Without A Cause; West Side Story), dies due to "drowning and other undetermined factors" at 43
  • 1988-12-22 (Thomas) "Tucker" Smith, American stage and screen dancer, singer and actor (West Side Story - "Ice"), dies of cancer at 52

Leonard Bernstein

1990-10-14 Leonard Bernstein, American Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning conductor (New York Philharmonic, 1958-69; Israel Philharmonic; London Symphony), and composer (West Side Story; Chichester Psalm), dies of heart attack at 72

  • 1991-06-06 Larry Kert, actor (Tony-West Side Story), dies of AIDS at 60
  • 1994-11-30 Irwin Kostal, American orchestra leader and arranger (West Side Story; The Sound Of Music; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), dies at 83
  • 1997-11-15 Saul Chaplin [Kaplan], American Oscar Award-winning stage, and screen composer, arranger, and orchestrator (An American in Paris; "The Anniversary Song"), dies at 85

Jerome Robbins

1998-07-29 Jerome Robbins [Rabinowitz], American Tony and Academy Award-winning theater and ballet choreographer and director (West Side Story; Peter Pan), dies shortly after suffering a strokeat 79

  • 2005-09-14 Robert Wise, American Academy Award-winning film director (The Day the Earth Stood Still; West Side Story; The Sound Of Music), dies of heat failure at 91
  • 2011-05-05 Arthur Laurents, American playwright (West Side Story: Gypsy), and screenwriter (Rope; Anastasia), dies at 93
  • 2016-07-24 (Margaret) "Marni" Nixon [McEathron], American soprano singer and film 'ghost voice' (for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady"; Natalie Wood in "West Side Story**"; Deborah Kerr in "The King And I"), dies at 86
  • 2018-07-08 Alan Johnson, American screen and stage choreographer (The Producers - "Springtime for Hitler"; Legs Diamond; 3 Emmy Awards), director (To Be Or Not To Be), and dancer (West Side Story),, dies at 81
  • 2019-07-06 Martin Charnin, American Broadway stage singer, dancer (West Side Story), director, and lyricist (Annie), dies after a heart attack at 84

Stephen Sondheim

2021-11-26 Stephen Sondheim, American Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning theater composer and lyricist (West Side Story; Sunday in the Park With George; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Gypsy), dies at 91 [1]