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Arthur Laurents talks WEST SIDE STORY 
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Post Arthur Laurents talks WEST SIDE STORY
In a recent interview with OUT magazine, Arthur Laurents spoke about changing the Spanish lyrics back into English in the current revival, the pitch he received for an animated Disney version of the show (which is just bizarre) and his hopes for a new film version. It's interesting reading, as is the rest of the article.

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Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:21 pm
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Thanks for posting this!
I think I just have to view Arthur Laurents as a director that has very different ways of seeing shows than I do. Personally, I didn't like the revival of West Side Story. When I saw the show on Broadway recently, I was so shocked that Maria sang "bright" instead of "gay" that the Spanish didn't really even matter anymore. The show was just so screwed up that I didn't even care anymore. I understand that he changed "gay" to "bright" because of the modernization that he used for the show but "bright" doesn't even comprehend the feeling that Maria is feeling in that scene. As for the Spanish "I Feel Pretty", I understand Laurents reasoning behind it but I think that it complicates the show more than it adds to it. You just can't modernize West Side Story!

I wonder what Laurents thinks about Next to Normal?...

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Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:49 am
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Um... not to be rude, but the text has always been "bright." That's how Sondheim originally wrote it and that's what Carol Lawrence sang back in 1957. It was only changed to "gay" for the movie, because "bright" originally rhymed with "tonight," but since the movie places the song at an earlier point than the stage version, they had to find something that rhymed with "today" instead.


Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:02 am
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Thanks! I just enjoy the West Side Story movie the best and think that that version works the best to portary the story and music.

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Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:10 am
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My personal favorite is the original Broadway production.

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Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:17 am
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Post Arthur Laurents talks WEST SIDE STORY
WickedToo wrote:
As for the Spanish "I Feel Pretty", I understand Laurents's reasoning behind it but I think that it complicates the show more than it adds to it. You just can't modernize West Side Story!

I think the point is that the choice itself complicates the show and that the manner in which the choice complicates the show is fundamental to what the choice adds to the show. I do think, however, that the decision to dispense with the surtitles was a fatal error for exploring what the translation, which is incidentally not a technique used to modernise the play as it does not shift the setting, because it left people grappling with the meaning of the songs instead of with the journey behind the shifts in language that the Spanish material communicates. I think it would be an excellent technique to explore in a film version of the show, where subtitles can be more easily integrated into the mise en scène than surtitles can be in the theatre.

WickedToo wrote:
I just enjoy the West Side Story movie the best and think that that version works the best to portray the story and music.

I think there are enough problems with the film - the casting of Tony perhaps being the most prominent, along with the over-eager efforts of the studio to dub almost everyone in the cast - to counter that argument. However, I do think that the film largely solves a few (but not all) of the problems with the show's devised slang and it is interesting to see the material re-structured to suit a medium of film, though I personally remain unconvinced that a similar re-structuring would work in the stage production even if there are others who would advocate such an approach.

ActingDude17 wrote:
My personal favorite is the original Broadway production.

I must admit that I am beginning to wonder if there will ever be a cast that will top the ensemble of the original production. I don't think the film cast measures up to them and, although I enjoy many of the actors in the revival, I don't think they are quite as effective as an ensemble - though I think they come close and managed to produce a cast recording that really is only second to the OBCR.

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Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:24 am
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