Rumble at “Last Remaining Seats” with “West Side Story”

Dance · Film
We’re very thrilled to announce that arts·meme‘s Debra Levine will conduct a very special interview with the Academy Award-winning actor/dancer George Chakiris, a good friend of the blog, prior to the screening of West Side Story  (1961) on Saturday June 14. The classic movie-musical is the jewel in the crown of this summer’s “Last Remaining ...

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 ...

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 ...

Happy birthday, George Chakiris

Dance · Film
One of dance’s smoothest operators, a suave and velvety mover whose smoldering good looks propelled him to stardom — and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1962 — George Chakiris, born in Ohio, reared in California, celebrates a significant birthday today. Dance Magazine Editor Wendy Perron calls Chakiris “the sexiest dancer on film ...


Music · Theater
I enjoyed interviewing Kelly Todd, the choreographer of the vivacious production of West Side Story on now at the Chance Theater in Orange County. Read my piece in the Los Angeles Times. While you are reading … listen up! Like this? Read more … Movie musical talk with George Chakiris Line up the geniuses: West ...

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. ...