We can’t get enough of West Side Story, and the good news is we don’t have to keep our “cool” for much longer.
There is something to be said about a timeless story, but there is more to be said about a story that gets better with age. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the Broadway musical turned classic film, West Side Story, has had a vibrant legacy for nearly 60 years.
The story of Tony and Maria, the Jets and the Sharks, and undying love is one that touches all of us. Whether a lover of music, dancing, or film, West Side Story is a favorite of many audiences and to this day it is still enjoyed on screens big and small.
Several theaters in the Los Angeles area have scheduled showings of the 1961 film in honor and celebration of how the film has inspired generations of young artists. The Debbie Reynolds Mainstage at the El Portal Theatre has showings running through Mother’s Day on May 13th. Additional showings are available at the La Mirada Theatre through May 14th and the Glendale Centre Theatre through May 26th.
The popularity of West Side Story has not faded but it shines brighter as time goes on. This fact is evident by the recent news of Steven Spielberg signing on to direct the remake of the film with Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Kushner, as its writer. The anticipation of experiencing Tony and Maria meeting eyes for the first time, looking for their Somewhere, is enough to make fans sing and dance with joy.
Fans are also reminded of the cultural significance of West Side Story by the impressive career of David Winters, who was one of the few original actors in the Broadway production brought on to be in the film.
David Winters is fondly remembered for his role as A-Rab, a member of the Jets, dancing across the screen in a time-capsule of the beginning of his influential career. There is absolutely no question that Winters has left an invaluable impression on the industry that we call “show business”; the Emmy for Choreography was created because of Winters for his second Emmy nomination for “The Ann-Margret TV Special.”
Tony Basil, choreographer, recording artist, and Emmy Award Winner, remarks on Winters’ style and inspiration: “Just watch David’s incredible 20 second solo from West Side Story’s ‘Cool.’ He takes dance steps, turns them into raw emotion, and tells a story. It was the aha moment when I understood what dance should be about…”
Actor, dancer, choreographer, director, producer – these are just some of the titles found under the name David Winters. Now, he embarks on a kind of right-of-passage taken on by influencers and icons, such as Winters: writing his autobiography. A complex and love-able man, Winters prepares yet another gift to the cultural stream with his autobiography recounting stories that can only be told by someone who lives the life of true show business.
Dan Vega, founding partner of Indigo River Publishing, the publishing house from which we are expecting David Winters’ Tough Guys Do Dance, shares his thoughts on the upcoming autobiography: “Working with him is an amazing pleasure. He is a generous and kind man in an industry that at times is not associated with either quality. Whether you are a student of dance or film, or just looking to take an amazing journey, his book will be one of the most captivating books you will ever read…”
So with the promise to delight both long-time followers and new-comers to the legacy of David Winters, spread the good news that West Side Story fans have much to look forward to in the very near bright, shining future. Put on those dancing shoes, slick back that hair, and remember to just play it cool, boy.