‘West Side Story’ takes Maryland dancers on a European adventure

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For a musical to resonate on an international level more than 50 years after its original Broadway debut demonstrates the brilliance of its creators.

With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and choreography by Jerome Robbins, West Side Story battled its way onto Broadway from a vision of updating Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for a beatnik and ballet proficient generation. Many Tony nominations followed in 1957, resulting in a win for Robbins’ choreography, but it lost the “Best Musical” award to the wholesome River City, Iowa spectacle The Music Man. The film adaptation fared much better earning ten Academy Awards including “Best Picture” in 1961.

All of this happened long before our two subjects jet├ęd into their parent’s lives. Courtney Ortiz and Nicholas Sipes joined the international touring cast earlier this year bringing the original magic of West Side Story to the European stage. The following interview was conducted in August, just before a short break brought them home to the States. They head back to Germany in October and finish out 2012 in Paris.
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