Arthur Laurents
(© Joseph Marzullo/ WENN)
Arthur Laurents
(© Joseph Marzullo/ WENN)
The landmark musical West Side Story will return to Broadway in 2009, directed by two-time Tony Award winning librettist Arthur Laurents. The production will play an out of town engagement at Washington D.C.'s National Theatre December 16-January 17, with Broadway previews beginning February 23 at a Nederlander Theatre to be announced, and an opening in March. Casting will be announced at a later date.

The show transports Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent streets of the Upper West Side in 1950's New York City. Two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between the rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, the "Jets" and the "Sharks."

The original Broadway production premiered at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957. It features a book by Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The original Jerome Robbins choreography will be restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely. This production, with an onstage cast of 37 and 30 musicians in the orchestra pit, will introduce the unprecedented element of selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs.

Laurents is currently represented on Broadway with Gypsy, for which he received a Tony nomination.