Jets ‘do the hustle’

Dance · Film
The filmmakers behind the re-do of WEST SIDE STORY (1961) did not win a lot of internet love upon the release of a production still of Steven Spielberg’s redux filming of Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise’s iconic WSS “Prologue,” with menacing gang members dance-trawling the streets of Manhattan. It’s hard to give fewer points for either the ...

Rita Moreno, Ph.D.

Film · Theater
She’s won two Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, the so-called “EGOT.” Now she’ll adding missing letters to her alphabet soup of honors, when Rita Moreno receives a Ph.D. from The Juilliard School. She’s great with accents and has a distinctive voice, but even Moreno may struggle with this one: EGOTPhD. Moreno was ...

‘Cher’-ing West Side Story 2

Film
I like her as George Chakiris. Others prefer her as Rita Moreno. (Hey, different strokes for different folks.) She also plays Russ Tamblyn and Natalie Wood. In this gender-bending, cross-dressing, stage-hogging, scene-stealing, performance-arting, one-woman show-ing, television tour-de-force, Cher does it all. Never a shrinking violet, she bursts forth as Tony/Maria/Bernardo/Anita in a West Side Story ...

Jerry’s kids, and grandkids, revel in ‘Jerome Robbins’ Broadway’

Dance · Theater
by 
“Jerome Robbins’ Broadway 30th Anniversary Celebration,” a lovingly assembled, heartfelt 90-minute program presented in the Guggenheim Museum’s “Works & Process” series, was several events bundled into one. It was a loving coda to the Jerome Robbins Centennial; an enthusiastic alumni reunion; and a celebration of a landmark Broadway production exactly 30 years after its opening ...

Leaping Jerry Robbins 1

Dance
His birthday is over so it is back to business. To admire the work of Jerome Robbins (he is currently being deified, similar to Balanchine) is to stumble upon his borrowings, and lack of crediting of others. This is so sensitive — and it’s a difficult-to-discern thin line of how the artistic process happens. Again ...

Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

The two Georges: Balanchine & Chakiris

Dance · Film
Okay, it’s a stretch! But bend-and-stretch is what dance is all about, isn’t it? Still, we were delighted to trip upon an amazing comparison, in a book review/essay by one of our premier dance writers, Joan Acocella. Publishing in The New Yorker magazine (“Balanchine Teaching” January 11, 2017), the critic/dance historian, in describing George Balanchine’s ...

Chita Rivera conquers Carnegie Hall

Dance · Music · Reviews · Theater
Holding court in her Carnegie Hall debut Monday evening, Broadway legend Chita Rivera gave gobs of pleasure and a pre-election-day boost to a very well-sold house. Prior to the show, a good many attendees swarmed the 57th Street sidewalk in anticipation of a special evening. In a solo showcase that got by with a little ...

George Chakiris recalls ‘West Side Story’ filming 1

Dance · Film
“All of Jerry’s choreography in this film is dialogue. It’s feeling. It’s not just dance steps.” So said George Chakiris apropos the choreography of Jerome Robbins, during “A Conversation with George Chakiris” at The Ellen Theater in Bozeman, Montana, in 2015. Robbins personally cast Chakiris as Bernardo, leader of the Sharks gang, for West Side ...

Gypsy dancer shop-talk at the Academy

Dance · Film
It was a night of dance chatter at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. A highly vaunted circle, including veteran gypsy dancers, a choreographer for the camera, and an Oscar-winning actor, gathered at AMPAS prior to a screening of “West Side Story” Monday July 18, 2016. In the photo, Maria Jimenez, who danced ...