Gang warfare quelled by dancer love — backstage at Miami City Ballet 3

Dance · Film
On stage, it was “The Jets are gonna have their way …  tonight.” It was the premiere of Jerome Robbins‘s “West Side Story Suite” at Miami City Ballet. A big tangle of tension, gang hatred, rumble, and knife-fight. But backstage, a cross-generational love fest took hold, as George Chakiris, the iconic Sharks gang-leader, now retired, ...

A rumble, with love, at Miami City Ballet 2

Dance · Film
Valentine’s Day love continues to take new and different forms. This year, February 14, 2014, in serendipitous Miami, Florida, a love connection of a special sort occurred at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. It was a backstage visit by Oscar-winning dancer/actor George Chakiris following Miami City Ballet’s premiere performance of  “West Side ...

West Side Story’s George Chakiris to host Miami City Ballet gala 4

Dance · Film
The distinction — true, false or otherwise — between so-called commercial dancers and those of the “concert” dance world will be breached February 14, 2014, when George Chakiris, “Bernardo” in WEST SIDE STORY (1961), hosts a gala to benefit Miami City Ballet, one of the nation’s leading classical ballet companies. Chakiris, who began his long ...

George Chakiris chats about career — in the Los Angeles Times 1

Dance · Film
“Gracious Dance” Los Angeles Times, Nov 11, 2013 An excerpt from Susan King’s article here: “It was groundbreaking choreographer-director Jerome Robbins who gave Chakiris his first big break when he cast him as Riff, the leader of the Jets, in the London stage production of “West Side Story.” Years later, Robert Wise, who co-directed the ...

Chakiris, a cut above the rest 1

Dance · Film · Theater
The camera catches a gang of gypsies rehearsing, in 1958, at New York’s Winter Garden theater before shipping overseas to perform in West Side Story’s second cast in London. Front and center is “West Side”s choreographer Jerome Robbins, running the “Cool” number with its inimitable finger snaps. Foremost in this group, a cut above the ...

Jonathan Lynn rules comedy

Language & ideas · Theater
“Laughter is the sound of recognition,” says the author of the book Comedy Rules, Jonathan Lynn. The veteran filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, and director co-wrote, along with Sir Antony Jay, Yes, Prime Minister, the former hit BBC television series now restaged as theater at the Geffen Playhouse. “When people recognize the truth of something they have ...

Jerome Robbins hits the bull’s-eye

Dance · Film
As this Saturday afternoon draws to a gloomy conclusion, it seems like a perfect time to fire up the “Prologue” from WEST SIDE STORY (1961). But when is not a great time to watch this? Jerome Robbins’s brilliant storytelling through dance … Leonard Bernstein’s tremendous original score — the anthem of an urban jungle. A ...

Chakiris, Tamblyn, Moreno cement their memories @ Grauman’s 1

Dance · Film · Theater
A touching trio of memories left behind at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on November 15, 2011, as three “West Side Story”‘ stars join the Hollywood ritual and deposit paws and hooves in cement. Long live the dancers! Like this? Read more: Enjoy arts·meme‘s “West Side Story” thread  

Something’s coming … tonight at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, “West Side Story” 50th birthday party

Dance · Film
1961 marquee In a great American pas de deux, George Chakiris partners Rita Moreno in “Dance at the Gym.” Co-choreographer Peter Gennero added sizzle to Robbins’s choreography in this number, so says dance-in-film historian Larry Billman. Jerome Robbins smiles.   Thank you Lynn Becker and Doc Macro for the WSS images.

Genius. West Side Story.

Dance · Film · Music · Theater
Just in from seeing “West Side Story” projected on big screen — my first such viewing (big screen) since who knows when … or maybe ever. What a great movie. Robbins’s choreography is so stellar, so wicked, so spot-on and thrilling; it’s even scary —  in “Cool.” The “America” number on the rooftop, beyond brilliant. ...