The West Side Story Broadway production team in 1957: (l. to r.) lyricist Stephen Sondheim, scriptwriter Arthur Laurents, producers Hal Prince and Robert Griffith (seated), composer Leonard Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins
West Side Story is an American musical with a script by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins. The musical is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.
Set in New York City in the mid-1950s, the musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks from Puerto Rico are taunted by the Jets, a white working-class group. The young protagonist, Tony, one of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Bernstein’s score for the musical has become extremely popular; it includes “Something’s Coming”, “Maria”, “America”, “Somewhere”, “Tonight”, “Jet Song”, “I Feel Pretty”, “A Boy Like That”, “One Hand, One Heart”, “Gee, Officer Krupke” and “Cool”.
The original 1957 Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince, marked Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway debut. It ran for 732 performances (a successful run for the time), before going on tour. The production received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical in 1957, but the award went to Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. It won a Tony Award in 1957 for Robbins’ choreography.
Somewhere (m. Leonard Bernstein, w. Stephen Sondheim) was introduced in the musical West Side Story which opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on 25 September 1957. But the song was written and copyrighted in the previous year. According to Wikipedia, citing the Arthur Laurents book Original story by: a memoir of Broadway and Hollywood (2000) pp. 351-352,
The show nearly was complete in the fall of 1956, but almost everyone on the creative team needed to fulfill other commitments first. Robbins was involved with Bells Are Ringing, then Bernstein with Candide, and in January 1957 A Clearing in the Woods, Laurents’ latest play, opened and quickly closed.
Reri Grist – Original Cast Recording, 1957
From the Wikipedia profile:
Grist was born in New York City, grew up in the East River Houses Project, attended the High School of Music and Art and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Queens College, City University of New York. In her early teens she performed on Broadway in small roles and in musicals along with Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lawrence Tibbett and Eartha Kitt, while gaining a solid training in voice through private study with Claire Gelda. Her first opera engagement was as Madame Herz in a concert performance of Der Schauspieldirektor by Mozart. Her first staged, quasi-operatic engagement was in 1956, as Cindy Lou in Oscar Hammerstein’s Carmen Jones. She performed the role of Consuelo in the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story in 1957, introducing the song “Somewhere” to the public. One of her earliest breakthroughs in classical music came shortly thereafter when Bernstein engaged her to sing the soprano part in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G major with the New York Philharmonic; Columbia Records recorded Grist with Bernstein and the Philharmonic in this symphony in 1960 and this was later issued by Sony on CD as part of the “Bernstein Century” series. [read more]
P.J. Proby released a single in 1964 which became a major hit in the UK and in Australia, reaching #6 and #7 on the respective charts. I presume that’s what we have here.
Shirley Bassey – from Shirley Stops the Shows, 1965
We Five – from their 1967 album Make Someone Happy,
In 1965, the Supremes recorded the song for their album, “There’s a Place for Us,” though it went unreleased until 2004. They also used it for their debut appearance at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City and it eventually became a fixture of their nightclub acts. They also sang the song on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Hollywood Palace. In contrast to the original melody, a special dramatic monologue was incorporated, which was frequently changed in conjunction with changes in the group as well as the country’s turmoil in the late 1960s.
In the aftermath of the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr., the monologue was changed to reflect King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. When the Supremes appeared on the The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson the day after King had been murdered, lead singer Diana Ross was so overcome with emotion that she practically stumbled through the speech, but got an extraordinary ovation from the studio audience.
French TV program Studio 102, hosted by Claude François – 3 February 1968 (03/02/1968)
The Supremes – recorded live 2 June 1973 in Tokyo, Japan, featuring lead vocal by Jean Terrell
Barbra Streisand – from The Broadway Album, 1985
Il Divo – live, date unknown
Barbra Streisand and Il Divo — live in 2006; from the 2009 DVD Barbara Streisand: The Concerts
9 yo Dominique Dy rehearsing Somewhere for an upcoming event, 31 March 2011
- Dominique (artist YouTube channel)
- Dominique playlists (artist Youtube channel)
- Dominique Dy playlist (My Daddy Cool Youtube channel)
2011, audition (?)*
The description below the video uploaded by mjuydy on 14 May 2011:
With her CD track not working / not compatible with the CD player, 9 year old Dominique had to improvise and sings “Somewhere” (West Side Story) a capella. It was challenging to get the right pitch and tempo without the accompaniment that she is used to. This was the first time she performed this song live a capella.
* The video has “America’s Got Talent” in the title, suggesting that it’s an audition for that show.