Each Friday as an alternative way of posting about a historical event that occurred on this day in history, I will weave the event into a fictional story while still providing all the necessary facts.
“You are being so secretive Sean. Tell me what we are doing for my birthday?”
“It’s a surprise Megan. Get dressed up as it will include going to dinner and be ready by 5:30 pm as we are going to NYC.”
“Now you really have me intrigued.”
On Thursday evening, Sean parked the car near 7th Avenue and 51st Street. With his hand on Megan’s back, he guided her towards their destination. Stopping in front of the Winter Garden Theatre, Megan smiled when she read the marquee.
“Opening night. Unbelievable. You are full of surprises.”
“Only the best for my lady.”
With much excitement in the air, Sean and Megan joined the queue.
“I read all about this show in the newspaper. The production had preliminary showings in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia in August.”
“When I read that it would open at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957, I thought of it as an sign. With that date being your birthday, I called some people I know.”
“You have people?”, laughed Megan.
Reaching the doors of the theater, Sean guided Megan through.
Original Broadway production
After tryouts in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia beginning in August 1957, the original Broadway production opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957 to positive reviews.
The production was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince and starred Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, Chita Rivera as Anita and David Winters as Baby John, the youngest of the gang members. Robbins won the Tony Award for Best Choreographer, and Oliver Smith won the Tony for Best Scenic Designer. Also nominated were Carol Lawrence, as Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical, Max Goberman as Best Musical Director and Conductor, and Irene Sharaff for Best Costume Design. Carol Lawrence received the 1958 Theatre World Award. Lighting was designed by Jean Rosenthal. The production ran for 732 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre before touring and then returning to the Winter Garden Theatre in 1960 for another 253 performance engagement.
The other principal or notable cast members in the original production were: Anybody’s: Lee Becker, Riff: Michael Callan, A-Rab: Tony Mordente, Action: Eddie Roll, Big Deal: Martin Charnin, Gee-Tar: Tommy Abbott; Velma: Carole D’Andrea, Bernardo: Ken Le Roy, Chino: Jamie Sanchez, Nibbles: Ronnie Lee; Rosalia: Marilyn Cooper, Consuelo: Reri Grist, Teresita: Carmen Gutierrez, Francisca: Elizabeth Taylor; Lt. Schrank: Arch Johnson, Doc: Art Smith, and Krupke: William Bramley.