The Standard for All Other WSS Productions
Grant Alexander | 12/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Words cannot describe how beautiful this recording is. WEST SIDE STORY is on my top ten list of my favorite musicals, and deservedly so. As the first musical to truly call performers to be not just singers, but accomplished actors and dancers as well, it was ahead of its time and still seems as fresh and alive today as it did 51 years ago. Its hard to believe that it was passed over for the Tony Award for Best Musical in favor of Meredith Wilson's THE MUSIC MAN, a masterpiece in its own right, but to pass over this show today seems almost like heresy. Although the film soundtrack, with its soaring orchestrations, and the 1980 recording, conducted by the great Bernstein himself and featuring well-known opera stars, it is this original soundtrack that captures the show at its most alive. With an excellent cast, featuring the hot Chita Rivera as Anita, her first starring role on Broadway, the wonderful Larry Kert as Tony, in wonderful voice and characterization, and the sublime Carol Lawrence as Maria, in glorious voice with her silvery and sweet soprano, the casting is impeccable. The orchestrations are wonderful, especially considering that pit orchestras for stage shows are never large, and hearing the shouts and vocalizations of the young, exuberant cast during the instrumentals, such as "The Dance At the Gym," make you feel as if the production is happening all around you, which is exactly what a cast recording is supposed to do. Feel free to dabble in other recordings of this landmark show, but I can guarantee that none will match this original cast or their voices and spirit, and when compared to the 1961 film recording, one wonders why anyone would choose those voices over the voices on this recording. Rivera, Kert, Lawrence? You can't go wrong."
Broadway Classic Every Collector Should Own
Drew Williams | Campbell, CA United States | 07/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This an absolutely fantastic cast recording. No other recording even comes close. Usually some revival cast recordings bring something new and we sometimes even prefer the revival recording but of all the hundreds of cast recordings I own, there is absolutely nothing that tops this album. It is absolutely timeless and a master work. And for the price offered here on Amazon, there is no better deal in town.
Treat yourself to what I think is the absolute BEST Broadway show ever performed by the most talented people in theatre. This was so innovative and different from what we normally saw that it will touch your heart so many times over while even listening to it one time. I can't go too long without listening to this wonderful recording. Bravo to our Beloved Leornard Berstein and Stephen Sondheim for bringing us such a national treasure. Enjoy!"
This Is the One!
Hitch & Hawks | New York, New York United States | 06/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many West Side Story recordings as is befitting one of the greatest scores written for Broadway: there are more polished recordings, more complete recordings, more operatic recordings, more contemporary recordings; but none of them comes close to capturing the excitement found here on the 1957 original cast album. I own many other recordings of this show, and love most of them, but if I could only keep one, this would be it. The singing isn't always flawless, and it has a harsher edge to it than many other cast albums of the time (probably a conscious choice on the part of the original record producer, Goddard Lieberson - the better to capture the edginess of the show itself), but it has an energy about it that is unmatched."