West Side Story and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra At Ravinia 2014

“There was a place for us” last night as we watched the tear-jerker West Side Story on the big screen. It was magical as we listened to the live performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing the score of West Side Story at Ravinia on July 17, 2014. The Ravinia Festival is the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States and it is located in Highland Park Illinois.

West Side Story is a 1961 movie directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins; an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical. The story is set in the summer of 1957 in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the Upper West Side of in New York City.  The film was released on October 18, 1961, and “became the second highest grossing film of the year in the United States. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including Best Picture (as well as a special award for Robbins), becoming the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical.” Wikipedia

 

Ravinia 2014

Ravinia 2014

You could hear a pin drop as The Sharks and The Jets captivated the audience at the Ravinia Festival last night.  West Side Story played on the big screen in the Pavilion and on the lawn and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) played the score of the iconic film. The legendary music is by Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was perfectly executed last night by the CSO. The iconic story of socially and ethnically mismatched soul mates was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.

West Side Story

West Side Story

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Rehearsal photo for West Side Story

Rehearsal photo for West Side Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

West Side Story stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris. The film portrays the rivalry between  the Jets, led by Riff, and a the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang of immigrants led by Bernardo.

Who doesn’t love listening to Bernardo’s girlfriend, Anita del Carmen (Rita Moreno) arguing with Bernardo Nunez (George Chakiris) the overprotective brother of Maria (Natalie Wood); as they belt out the advantages of Puerto Rico and the United States in I want to live in “America“.

Every women is awe-struck by Tony (Richard Beymer). We dream of our own version of Tony Wyzek, co-founder of the Jets who works in Doc’s Drug Store; when he passionately sings  “Tonight“.

        Maria claims “Te adoro Anton” on her fire escape and the whole audience swoons. Why does Hollywood create these damn pipe dreams anyway? What about the bridal shop scene when Tony and Maria fantasize about the wedding. My heart be still!!! By the end of the movie, you need a box of Kleenex. Thank you William Shakespeare.

Here are the lyrics:

MARIA

        Only you, you’re the only thing I’ll see forever,

 

        In my eyes, in my words and in everything I do,

 

        Nothing else but you

 

        Ever!

TONY

        And there’s nothing for me but Maria,

 

        every sight that I see is Maria.

MARIA

        Tony, Tony…

TONY

        Always you, every thought I’ll ever know,

 

        Everywhere I go, you’ll be.

MARIA

        All the world is only you and me!

TONY

        Tonight, tonight,

 

        It all began tonight,

 

        I saw you and the world went away.

MARIA

        Tonight, tonight,

 

        There’s only you tonight,

 

        What you are, what you do, what you say.

TONY

        Today, all day I had the feeling

 

        A miracle would happen —

 

        I know now I was right.

BOTH

        For here you are

 

        And what was just a world is a star

 

        Tonight!

MARIA’S FATHER’S VOICE

        (from inside)

 

        Maruca!

MARIA

        (spoken)

 

        I cannot stay. Go quickly!

TONY

        (spoken)

 

        I’m not afraid,

MARIA

        Please.

TONY

        (kissing her)

 

        Good night.

MARIA

        Buenas noches.

TONY

        I love you.

MARIA

        Yes, yes. Hurry

 

        Wait! When will I see you?

TONY

        Tomorrow.

MARIA

        I work at the bridal shop across the street.

 

        Madam Lucia’s

TONY

        I’ll come there.

MARIA

        At closing time. Six o’clock.

TONY

        Yes.

MARIA

        Good night.

TONY

        Good night.

MARIA

        (calling down)

 

        Tony!

TONY

        Ssh!

MARIA

        When you come, use the back door.

TONY

        Si.

MARIA

        Tony!

 

        What does Tony stand for?

TONY

        Anton.

MARIA

        Te adoro, Anton.

TONY

        Te adoro, Maria.

BOTH SING

        Good night, good night,

 

        Sleep well and when you dream,

 

        Dream of me

 

        Tonight.
        Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

 

        © 1956, 1957 Amberson Holdings LLC and Stephen Sondheim. Copyright renewed.

 

        Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, Publisher.
        Buy the

Tonight

        vocal selections online! price: $4.25
cover Click here to purchase the West Side Story Vocal Score
Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company / Boosey & Hawkes

 

 

George Chakiris

Cover of George Chakiris

 

 

Here are some Wikipedia Factoids:

Directed by Robert Wise Jerome Robbins
Produced by Robert Wise
Screenplay by Ernest Lehman
Based on West Side Story by Jerome Robbins Arthur Laurents Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (uncredited)
Starring  

Cast

  • Natalie Wood as Maria Nuñez, Bernardo’s younger sister, Chino’s fiancée, in love with Tony Wyzek
  • Richard Beymer as Tony Wyzek, inactive co-founder of the Jets with best friend Riff, works at Doc’s drug store, in love with Maria Nuñez
  • Russ Tamblyn as Riff Lorton, leader of the Jets, best friend of Tony
  • Rita Moreno as Anita del Carmen, Bernardo’s girl, Maria’s closest confidante
    • Betty Wand as Anita’s low notes during “A Boy Like That” (she ended up with throat nodules as a result[2]); Marni Nixon during parts of the “Quintet”.
  • George Chakiris as Bernardo Nuñez, leader of the Sharks, older brother of Maria
  • Simon Oakland as Lieutenant Schrank, neighborhood police lieutenant
  • Ned Glass as Doc, drugstore owner, Tony’s boss. He tries to talk sense to Tony and the Jets, but they rarely listen.
  • William Bramley as Officer Krupke, neighborhood cop, Schrank’s right-hand man
  • John Astin as Glad Hand, social worker
  • Penny Santon as Madam Lucia, owner of neighborhood bridal shop
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp, A.S.C.
Edited by Thomas Stanford
Production   company The Mirisch Corporation Seven Arts Productions Beta Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • October 18, 1961 (1961-10-18)
Running time 152 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English, some Spanish
Budget $6 million
Box office $43,700,000

 

The Auditorium Building was the first home of ...

The Auditorium Building was the first home of the Chicago Civic Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Ravinia Festival

Ravinia Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), is one of the five legendary American orchestras. It was founded in 1891, and has a home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.  The musical director is Riccardo Muti, who began his tenure in 2010 and has extended his contract with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through 2020.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves Ravinia and writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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