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The Making of 'West Side Story' (1985)
"Leonard Bernstein Conducts West Side Story" (original title)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary | Music  -  May 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 116 users  
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A documentary which shows, in great detail, the making of the 1985 Bernstein-conducted recording of the entire score of "West Side Story", featuring operatic stars.


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Title: The Making of 'West Side Story' (TV Movie 1985)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Conductor
Kiri Te Kanawa ...
José Carreras ...
Tatiana Troyanos ...
Kurt Ollmann ...
Nina Bernstein ...
Louise Edeiken ...
Angelina Réaux ...
Stella Zambalis ...
Alexander Bernstein ...
Stephen Bogardus ...
Richard Harrell ...
Todd Lester ...
David Livingston ...
Marty Nelson ...


A documentary which shows, in great detail, the making of the 1985 Bernstein-conducted recording of the entire score of "West Side Story", featuring operatic stars.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music



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May 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Making of 'West Side Story'  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Amongst all the English credits the copyright says "Leonard Bernstein und Stephen Sondheim 1957." See more »


West Side Story
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Arthur Laurents
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on a conception by Jerome Robbins
Orchestration by Leonard Bernstein with Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal
See more »

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User Reviews

a misguided project!
27 January 2003 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Why Mr. Bernstein decided to make a recording of his great musical with operatic voices is a puzzle. Though Kurt Ollmann is fine in his part, Te Kanawa and Carreras are totally miscast even vocally. And what should be a lively and highly rhythmic performance is "embalmed for eternity". In the last part of his career Bernstein became slow and mannered in an apparent attempt to emulate Karl Böhm and it didn't suit him at all, in my opinion.

Hear the original cast recording or see the show or movie instead.

(2006) I might, in self-defense, add a little to my earlier review:

I am really quite familiar with "West Side Story" having worked with more than one theater group on it as pianist. I also am a great admirer of Kiri Te Kanawa but I don't think she should have sung this part. An operatic approach is not appropriate for a Broadway musical except in rare cases such as Ezio Pinza in "South Pacific" or Robert Weede in "The Most Happy Fella" which is nearly an opera anyway.

I met Mr. Bernstein in the late 50s or early 60s and am familiar with his work. Though I greatly admired much of his earlier work I think he lost his way both as conductor and composer late in life. (Due in part to self-indulgence: in addition to not being Karl Böhm, neither was he Gustav Mahler!)

So, even though many may think my comment is "useless", I am letting it stand.

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