Theater: New Musical in Manhattan, Oct. 7, 1957

West Side Story (book by Arthur Laurents; music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim) gave the new season what should prove a very popular retelling of Romeo and Juliet—in terms of youthful gang warfare. It also suggests that the salvation of the serious Broadway musical may lie in neither text nor music—which, trying to coalesce, all too often merely collide—but in dancing.

The near success of West Side Story certainly derives from its dancing. If there are special reasons for this—the brilliance of the choreographer, Jerome Robbins, and the choreographic rightness of...

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