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50TH Anniversary Event

In movie theatres nationwide

A One Night Special Event - November 9, 2011 at 7:30

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50TH ANNIVERSARY: West Side Story Event Information

TCM Presents the West Side Story 50th Anniversary Event

Wednesday, November 9th

An exciting new Turner Classic Movies original production introduces a special screening of MGM’s 50th Anniversary restoration of West Side Story—the most acclaimed musical of all time (winner of 10 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture)!

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of this “cinema masterpiece” (Bosley Crowther, The New York Times) West Side Story producer Walter Mirisch, Oscar-winning actor George Chakiris and voice double vocalist Marni Nixon joined TCM Host Robert Osborne at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival in historic Hollywood for a revealing behind-the-scenes discussion of the making of the film: Mirisch remembers the moment he first saw the original Broadway musical (“one of the most amazing experiences of my life”); Chakiris reflects on the experience of working under two great directors (both of whom received an Academy Award—an Oscar first); Nixon discusses the challenges and tensions that came with being the singing voice of popular actress Natalie Wood.

West Side Story was a long shot as a musical, both on stage and screen—a modern adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet”, retold as a story of New York City gang violence with a sophisticated scoring and exuberant choreography.  But it transcended these apparent contradictions and made a classic tale timely by overlaying the love story with an exploration of mid-century racial tensions, transforming the Montagues and Capulets into the all-white Jets gang and the Puerto Rican Sharks.  Music and story blended powerfully, as the sounds of the streets became the percussive muscle of a heavy-hitting score that blended modern jazz, pop and Latin rhythms. The tale of young, star-crossed lovers became a parable of the modern world, where Maria (Natalie Wood) and Tony (Richard Beymer) were doomed not only by their passion but by larger social forces. This monumental production, conceived and choreographed by Jerome Robbins features the timeless lyrics of master American composer Stephen Sondheim, magnificent score by Leonard Bernstein and heartfelt book by playwright Arthur Laurents.

“It has to do with prejudice,” Chakiris tells Robert Osborne, “and prejudice is with us all the time.” West Side Story is as powerful and as relevant today as it was upon its release 50 years ago.  

This special event includes both the TCM original production and the sparkling new restoration of West Side Story, a combination that only TCM, MGM and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment could bring you!   This is an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy every sensational song and dazzling dance number of this film masterpiece in sparkling high definition with pure 7.1 digital sound.

On November 15th, experience the Original Academy Award®-Winning spectacular as WEST SIDE STORY: 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION when it debuts with a Limited Edition 4-Disc Numbered Boxed Set featuring Blu-ray, DVD, CD musical soundtrack and collectible memorabilia, as well as a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.