April 9th, 2016

shakespeare by cunning_croft

(no subject)

William Shakespeare: a quintessentially American author
From Abraham Lincoln’s White House readings to Hollywood westerns and West Side Story, Shakespeare’s plays are an integral part of the American dream. So how did this icon of Englishness become a US phenomenon

Robert McCrum

Perhaps the apotheosis of the marriage between Shakespeare and the new world occurs with West Side Story. The most famous 20th-century musical adaptation of Shakespeare began in 1949 when a friend of the director Jerome Robbins was offered the part of Romeo in a stage production and began puzzling about bringing the role to life. Robbins’s reaction, however, was more Shakespearean. “I said to myself: ‘There’s a wonderful idea here,’” he later recalled. Having begun to work on a story of ill-fated lovers and gang violence, Robbins approached Leonard Bernstein and the librettist Arthur Laurents. Eventually the young Stephen Sondheim came on board to write the lyrics.
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