American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Outline for West Side Story

Outline, Romeo and Juliet, Act One
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
"Outline, Romeo and Juliet, Act One"
Typescript with annotations by Bernstein, 1955
Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music Division (22)

Based on Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story (1957), with its sophisticated music, tragic story, and focus on social problems, marked a turning point in American musical theater, which had usually dealt with lighter themes. Composer Leonard Bernstein gave sketches and piano-vocal scores from West Side Story to the Library of Congress during the 1960s. In 1992 his children generously donated the rest of Bernstein's papers, including this plot outline with Shakespeare's play title and names for characters, including Romeo and Juliet, who became Tony and Maria in the final version. The annotations in the margins are in Bernstein's hand.

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