Conceived in 1949, West Side Story has a serious message that pleads for racial tolerance, delivered in unforgettable song and dance. People have been listening to that message, and humming the songs, ever since the show premiered on Broadway in 1957 and debuted on the silver screen in 1961.
Stephen Sondheim is widely viewed as the greatest living composer in American musical theater. "Send in the Clowns," from the show A Little Night Music, may be his most famous work — and yet you might not recognize the song as reimagined for solo piano by Ethan Iverson of the band The Bad Plus.
The Arden Theatre has staged 14 productions of Stephen Sondheim shows since 1993. But opening this month is a first: Passion, a simple love story between people who are anything but simple. Artistic director Terry Nolen tells the Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns why he waited until he was good and ready.
Along with jazz and motion pictures, musical theater is one of the 20th century’s great American artistic creations. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, a masterwork by one of Broadway’s master craftsman is getting a makeover in Philadelphia.
Though musical theater created outside the U.S. is often re-imported - think Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh - many of the most enduring works in the genre come from a theater artist who has been practicing his craft for longer than these two British composers have been alive.