In the summer of 1957, before the new musical West Side Story headed to Washington, D.C., for a pre-Broadway tryout, it was given a run-though in New York City for theater insiders. Burton Bernstein, the younger brother of Leonard Bernstein, the composer of West Side Story’s music, saw the preview and in a letter to Leonard’s wife, Felicia, assessed the show. He told her it was going to be “a large hit and [live] up to our highest expectations.” He then wrote, “The strange thing (something I’ve never experienced before) is that B. Lennuhhtt comes off as second best: the show actually is a monster ballet (a jot repetitious in spots) where no one is actually directed but choreographed instead.” B. Lennuhhtt was a nickname for his brother Leonard.

No one today...


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