Sung in English with projected text
Appropriate for all ages
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet
Maria and Tony fall helplessly in love at a school dance, but their love is doomed: Maria’s brother is leader of the Sharks—a street gang—and Tony is one of their hated enemies, the Jets. Their story, just like Romeo and Juliet’s, ends in tragedy, with everyone reflecting on the senselessness of it all. But Bernstein’s music—some of the most beloved in musical theater, including “Maria,” “There’s a Place for Us,” and “Tonight”—points the way to hope in the midst of confusion.
Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins.
Book by Arthur Laurents.
Music by Leonard Bernstein.
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Entire original production directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins.
Cast and Creative Team
|Set Designer||Peter J. Davison|
|Costume Designer||Jessica Jahn|
|Lighting Designer||Mark McCullough|
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
On New York’s West Side, two gangs are at war over the same turf—the Sharks, led by Bernardo, and the Jets, led by Riff. When a fight breaks out, Riff and the Jets decide the issue should be settled once and for all with a rumble.
Later that evening, both gangs are present at a school dance. When Tony, a Jet, sees Bernardo’s beautiful sister, Maria, the chemistry between them is so palpable that it almost sets off another fight. Riff challenges Bernardo to the rumble, and he readily agrees to meet after the dance for a “war council” at Doc’s drugstore, where Tony works.
Tony finds Maria after the dance and they swear their love. At the war council, Tony does what he can to ensure that the rumble the next evening will be fair, but as the time grows close, Maria is still worried and asks Tony to put a stop to the fight. But Tony’s efforts only make Bernardo angrier: Riff and Bernardo pull knives and Bernardo kills Riff. In response, Tony kills Bernardo. The police arrive, and everyone scatters.
Both the police and Chino—a Shark member whom Maria is expected to marry—are looking for Tony. Tony decides to ask Doc for money so he and Maria can run away together and Maria will meet him at the drugstore. Their plan goes awry when the police hold Maria for questioning. Anita goes to the drugstore to tell Tony that Maria has been delayed, but when members of the Jets harass and attack her, she lashes back by saying Chino has killed Maria.
When Tony hears this, he runs out into the streets, calling for Chino to come and get him, too. To Tony’s astonishment, Maria appears and they run toward each other. Chino steps out of the shadows and shoots Tony; Maria breaks down sobbing over his body.