The new “West Side Story” is supposed to start previews tomorrow.
I’m told that the avant garde choreographer hired for the production– Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker — who threw out Jerome Robbins’ classic choreography– is getting a more conventional consultant.
Tony winner Sergio Trujillo has been brought in to help out. UPDATE: Although the show maintains de Keersmacker isn’t leaving, I’m told that most of what she’s done will be replaced by Trujillo restoring Jerome Robbins’ original award winning classic dances. This show has an extraordinarily long preview schedule– two months– which should give the producers ample time to right their ship.
Director Ivo van Hove has obviously been overruled by producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller, and David Geffen. That trio has enough experience to know when something ain’t working. And this obviously made no sense.
I told you last week that de Keersmacker and van Hove had taken the song “I Feel Pretty” out of the show, and removed the big ballet number that goes with the show’s hit song, “Somewhere.” Sources say the song and the ballet are back. But the show’s official position is “that woll never happen.” We’ll see.
Screwing around with “West Side Story” is like graffiti painting over the Mona Lisa. The show is considered perfection in musical theater. With Steven Spielberg’s updated but still very classic version coming to film screens a year from now, the estates of Robbins and Leonard Bernstein, as well as the very much alive Stephen Sondheim, couldn’t afford to see their masterpiece damaged.
And this should help the advance ticket sales, which to be honest, lacked buzz. There are plenty of seats available on discount for January and February.
ONE MORE THING Sounds like a tense situation at the Broadway Theater. “We’re all under NDA’s,” says a source. So please, feel free to email me confidentially with updates. email@example.com