Stephen Sondheim praises Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story variation, saying the movie is “really terrific.” The legendary theater composer wrote the lyrics to the original 1957 Broadway play, which was inspired by Romeo and Juliet. Arthur Laurents is responsible for the show’s story and the music is by Leonard Bernstein. West Side Story was first adjusted into a feature film in 1961 which starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris. Now, another exceptionally expected variation is coming.
During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, West Side Story’s original lyricist Stephen Sondheim praised Spielberg’s new iteration. Sondheim called the film “really terrific” and urged audiences to go out to theaters to see it, saying “You’ll really have a happy time.” He also hinted that Spielberg’s version deviates significantly from the original, saying “there’s going to be some real surprises.” See the thing else Sondheim said about the new film underneath:
As the Broadway show’s original lyricist, Sondheim’s praise carries somewhat more weight than others. Despite the fact that he is never one to “tout [his] own work,” as he joked on The Late Show. It should be noted that Sondheim was not a devotee of the first feature movie variation from director Robert Wise. Despite the fact that it won a staggering 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Sondheim had some decision criticism, saying it wasn’t “a decent movie at all because it’s anything but a movie. It’s a photograph of a stage.”
In case Spielberg’s version has the approval of the play’s original lyricist, it is sure to gain the approval of audiences on the loose. With just two largely non-revealing West Side Story trailers to work with, it’s hard to ascertain how Spielberg and Kushner managed this adaption that differs from the 1961 version, however it has clearly won Sondheim’s approval, who is usually considered the greatest composer and lyricist in the history of American theater. His praise will just serve to intensify expectation for the new West Side Story coming to theaters on December 10.