The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera announced that they are co-presenting a free outdoor screening of Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise's Academy Award-winning film West Side Story on the Lincoln Center Plaza in front of the opera house on Friday, August 28 at 7:45pm.
The 1961 classic is a bold, beloved adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which was originally inspired by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
The free screening, running 2 hours and 30 minutes, is open to the public and seating is first-come, first-served. The event is a special tease, serving to kick off the Met Opera's popular Summer HD Festival.
Before Lincoln Center became the place to hear Plácido Domingo sing "La donna è mobile" or witness Anna Netrebko deliver Lucia di Lammermoor's mad scene, the Upper West 60s was imagined in this film as a gritty, blue-collared neighborhood where Tony belted out "Something's Coming," Maria declared "I Feel Pretty," and the Jets danced to "Gee, Officer Krupke." Natalie Wood stars as good girl Maria (dubbed vocally by Marni Nixon), who falls in love with handsome Tony, played by Richard Beymer, who happens to be the leader of the gang facing off against the faction led by Maria's brother. Rita Moreno and George Chakiris complete the principal cast (both winning supporting Oscars).
The real star of the show, though, is Bernstein's glorious score. From "Maria" to "Tonight" to "America" to "Somewhere," West Side Story features one unforgettable tune after another (not to mention song lyrics by a twentysomething Stephen Sondheim), along with dazzling emotional choreography. The story of impossible love and violent death should set the stage ideally for Bizet's Carmen -- the opening opera of the festival the very next night on Saturday, August 29.
The much-praised box-office blockbuster received 11 Academy Award nominations and won all but one. Oscars include Best Picture, Best Director (Wise and Robbins -- the first time that award went to co-directors), Best Supporting Actor and Actress (George Chakiris in his first major film role and Rita Moreno), Best Color Cinematography, Best Color Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Color Costume Design.
Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility, and understanding of the moving image. The Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year's most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, NewFest, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment magazine, the Film Society recognizes an artist's unique achievement in film with the prestigious Chaplin Award, whose 2015 recipient was Robert Redford. The Film Society's state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year-round programs and the New York City film community. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.com and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.