In March, I finished a last minute group tour in time to attend a book signing of The Jets and the Sharks: Our Story at one of the great remaining independent NYC Book stores: The Drama Book Shop . I love book signings and I couldn't resist buying the book because well I love the film of West Side Story. In another post I wrote about Leonard Bernstein, the composer of West Side Story, and one of my all time New York City heros.
The Jets and the Sharks Our story focuses on the dancers - how they got cast, the experience of making the film and how the film affected their later lives and careers. Each writer also talks about their relationship to the great choreographer Jerome Robbins. They thought the world of him. There is no mention of his testimony during the McCarthy hearings but perhaps that is because at that time these dancers were really young kids who were busy taking dance lessons and not home watching that relatively new invention TV.In fact, they had probably never heard of Robbins then.
The book probably needs an editor but each person's story does give a different point of view about many of the same events. I need to see the film again with this new knowledge of the dancers' experiences.
While the Central Park Film festival is not until late in August, now (June) is the time to vote for the films you want to see. Please vote for West Side Story! Many of the opening NYC shots were filmed near the Park where Lincoln Center is now.