Outline for West Side
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
"Outline, Romeo and Juliet, Act One"
Typescript with annotations by Bernstein, 1955
Leonard Bernstein Collection, Music
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.