Title: “West Side Story” film by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (1961) interpreted as a musical theatre production by Joey McKneely (2009)
“West Side Story” is a musical film released in 1961, directed by Robert Wise and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. It is an adaptation of the Shakespearean play “Romeo and Juliet,” set in New York City’s West Side in the 1950s. The story centers on two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, and the love story between Tony, a former Jet member, and Maria, the sister of the Sharks’ leader.
In 2009, Joey McKneely directed a revival of “West Side Story” as a musical theatre production. McKneely’s interpretation of the original work sought to highlight the show’s themes of love, violence, and cultural conflict. While staying true to its original story, the production also featured new set and choreography.
McKneely’s interpretation captured the energy and intensity of the original film while bringing a fresh perspective to the story. The new choreography added dynamic movement and physicality to the show’s dance numbers, creating a more visceral experience for the audience. The set design also contributed to the production’s impact, with innovative use of lighting and projection to create a vivid and immersive environment.
McKneely talked about his influence on the production of the movie in an exclusive interview with Broadway World. He stated, “I wanted to honor the original while bringing something new and fresh to the show. We wanted to create a production that would speak to audiences today, while staying true to the timeless story and music of ‘West Side Story’.” This statement highlights McKneely’s goal of paying homage to the original work while infusing it with his own artistic vision and interpretation.
Overall, Joey McKneely’s interpretation of “West Side Story” as a musical theatre production captured the essence of the original film while adding new elements that made the story feel fresh and relevant to modern audiences. The innovative set and choreography, as well as his respect for timeless themes in the original film, helped make his tribute to this classic work.