Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, Misha Berson (author of Something’s Coming, Something Good) and David Saint (editor of The Rest of the Story by Arthur Laurents) discuss West Side Story: the stage musical, the film, the legacy. This episode was recorded at a live Q&A at the Drama Book Shop in New York at the release of Something’s Coming, Something Good.
Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination takes a critical, comprehensive look at one of the most inventive, influential, and internationally beloved Broadway musicals of all time – from its inception by a brilliant quartet of creators (Robbins, Bernstein, Sondheim, and Laurents) to its smashing success on film, to its ongoing popularity on stages around the world and its potent impact on the Great American Musical.
Arthur Laurents passed away early in 2011 but not before writing The Rest of the Story, in which he revealed all that had happened in his life since Original Story By, filled with the wisdom he gained in growing older and a new perspective brought on by Laurents’ experience of deep personal loss, including the death of his longtime companion, Tom Hatcher. The book ends with a loving and insightful coda by Laurent’s good friend and the editor of this book, David Saint.
Guest Blogger: Ben Hodges, editor of the Theatre World series
The 5th Annual Fire Island Theater and Literary Festival took place the weekend of October 14, 15, 16, at the Madison Fire Island Pines in Fire Island, New York, surrounding the 52nd and 50th anniversaries, respectively, of the stage and film versions of West Side Story. The event was hosted by Andrew Kirtzman of the Madison Fire Island Pines and produced by Theatre World editor in chief Ben Hodges. The event was hosted by Drama Desk-nominated Sirius Radio host Christine Pedi, who interviewed Applause Books authors Misha Berson (Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination), and Barry Monush (West Side Story: Music on Film). Original stage and film performer Harvey Evans was also in attendance. Selections from the show were sung by Bill Coyle and Patrician Noonan. Approximately 100 people were in attendance.
Seattle Times critic and acclaimed author Misha Berson in conversation with Chris Coleman
A critic is coming to Portland Center Stage! But we can breathe easy; this time we are interviewing the critic and the topic is her own work. Portland Center Stage and Chris Coleman will host theater critic Misha Berson on November 5, 2011 from 5-6 p.m. Berson will be discussing her new book, Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination. Berson brings a deep-rooted passion for theater and will discuss the rich history and development of this landmark Broadway musical and subsequent film, now in its 50th anniversary. The event featuring Coleman and Berson is free and open to the public.
In addition to working as an award-winning theater critic for the Seattle Times, Berson contributes regularly to American Theater Magazine and Pacific Northwest Magazine. Berson is also a commentator on KUOW-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate in Seattle. She spent 12 years covering the San Francisco Bay area theater scene before joining the Seattle Times in 1991, and has taught courses in drama and interdisciplinary arts at both San Francisco State University and the University of Washington. Her previous books include The San Francisco Stage and Between Worlds: Contemporary Asian-American Playwrights.
Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination takes a critical, comprehensive look at one of the most inventive, influential, and internationally beloved Broadway musicals of all time – from its inception by a brilliant quartet of creators to its smashing success on film, to its ongoing popularity on stages around the world and its potent impact on the Great American Musical.
Featuring intriguing chapters on West Side Story in relation to Romeo and Juliet; as a recording phenomenon; as a film rated the second-best movie musical of all time by the American Film Institute; as part of a wave of juvenile delinquency dramas; as the first great choreographer-auteur musical; and as the granddaddy of “youth musicals” such as Hair and Rent, Something’s Coming, Something Good is a revealing guide for those who have seen the show; for those who wish to study it for pleasure or inspiration; and for actors, designers, and directors planning on producing it. Available for purchase here.
The Fifth Annual Fire Island Pines Literary and Theater Weekend
Presented by Ben Hodges
The 50th Anniversary Celebration of West Side Story
Surrounding the release of Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination and West Side Story: Music on Film
Saturday, Oct. 15
Cocktail reception at 2pm
Performance at 3pm
The Madison Fire Island Pines
22 Atlantic Walk
Special guests: Harvey Evans (Broadway legend and performer of both stage and film productions of West Side Story), Christine Pedi (currently of NEWSical The Musical and SiriusXM radio host), Misha Berson (author of Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination), Barry Monush (author of West Side Story: Music on Film), and special Broadway performers TBA.
Ben Hodges, editor of the beloved book series Theatre World, is proud to produce the fifth annual Fire Island Pines Literary and Theater Weekend on Oct. 14th, 15th, & 16th. The theme is West Side Story. Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination, by Misha Berson (Applause Books), and West Side Story: Music on Film, by Barry Monush (Limelight Editions) are new books from Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. The event will be hosted by Drama Desk nominee Christine Pedi, currently of NEWSical The Musical and the host of the SiriusXM daily radio show On Broadway, with discussion/questions and book signing by Misha Berson, Barry Monush, and Ben Hodges to follow.
Make your reservations now and spend your weekend with the performers at the acclaimed Madison Fire Island Pines, which The Advocate has named as the best accommodations in Fire Island Pines. For great rates, call The Madison at 631-597-6061 or book your reservation through their website http://www.themadisonfi.com
Patricia Noonan recently created the role of Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) and the role of Sophia in Death Takes a Holiday for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Other NYC credits: Where’s Charley? and Girl Crazy (City Center Encores!), Signs of Life (Lorelei), Hurricane (NYMF), Cabaret Girl (Effie). Regional: Carousel (Julie Jordan/Barrington Stage), Sondheim at 80 (Soloist/Kennedy Center), Little House on the Prairie (original cast/Guthrie Theatre), How to Succeed… (Rosemary), Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), Man of La Mancha (Antonia). Training: Boston College (Presidential Scholars Program).
Bill Coyne is thrilled to be singing for the 50th Anniversary of the West Side Story film. His last performance of “Maria” was accompanied on Leonard Bernstein’s personal piano! Bill just finished a run in Gerard Alessandrini’s new show Madame X in the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Recently, he performed in a reading of Marc Acito and Jeffrey Stock’s new musical A Room With a View, which will premiere at the Old Globe this spring. Other credits include Valere in The Miser and creating the role of Supernova in the new musical Superhero Celebrity Rehab at the Access Theater. Proud NYU-Steinhardt grad. http://www.billcoyneonline.com