Some very big news in the musical theater world: West Side Story is returning to Broadway.
A new production of the iconic Stephen Sondheim has been confirmed for a February 2020 opening, with famed director Ivo van Hove attached to direct. In addition, for the first time ever in the U.S., West Side Story will feature all-new
choreography, by the widely acclaimed Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
The project marks something of a departure for van Hove, who is known for his innovative revivals of such seminal dramas as The Crucible and A View From the Bridge, the latter of which netted him the 2016 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play. West Side Story will mark his debut Broadway musical.
“This is Ivo van Hove’s first Broadway musical, and I’m eager to see what he does with it,” Sondheim said in a statement. “What keeps theater alive over time is reinterpretation, and when that reinterpretation is as invigorating as his productions of A View from the Bridge and The Crucible, it makes for something to look forward to with excitement.”
An epic musical reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story premiered on Broadway in 1957 and has since been revived three times, most recently in 2009, and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film of the same name (Steven Spielberg and Tony Kusher are also planning a new film adaptation). The musical, whose book was written by Arthur Laurents and music by composed by Leonard Bernstein, has notably never won a Tony for either Best Musical or Best Revival of a Musical.
“The Bernstein Office and siblings are thrilled at this opportunity to see West Side Story staged anew in its own location, New York City,” Jamie Bernstein said on behalf of her late father, Leonard Bernstein. “This show’s theme of love destroyed by hatred and intolerance is as poignant today as it was in Shakespeare’s time — but the story line involving the mistreatment of Puerto Rican immigrants makes West Side Story more timely now than ever. ‘Nobody knows in America/Puerto Rico’s IN America!’”
Added David Saint, literary executor of the Arthur Laurents Estate: “Arthur always believed the only reason to revive West Side Story on Broadway was to bring a new perspective to the material. Ivo van Hove is sure to do just that.”
Performances of van Ove’s West Side Story will begin on Dec. 10, 2019 before an official opening of Feb. 6, 2020. No casting information is known at this point.