chapter  2
36 Pages

Genesis

On 18 September 1957, Leonard Bernstein wrote an invented journal outlining some key moments in the history of West Side Story. Jerome Robbins and Bernstein remarked yesterday that the idea of basing a musical on the famous Shakespearean love story has been with Mr. Robbins for some time. Documents in Leonard Bernstein Collection provide some clues about the initial scheme of the show. The earliest source may be a typed list of scenes on Jerome Robbins's headed writing paper, annotated by Bernstein. Any prospect of the show arriving in New York 'next season', as Louis Calta had suggested in his column, soon faded, although according to Bernstein's log some kind of start was made. Robbins, Laurents and Bernstein were all too busy with other projects to make any further progress until 1955. A handwritten music list by Bernstein, probably dating from May 1957, just before rehearsals started, gives a running order, complete with the forces required for some of the numbers.