Smorgasbord Music Column – Songs from the Movies – ‘Maria’ from West Side Story by Sally Cronin

One of my all time favourite musicals is West Side Story which was on Broadway and then released as a movie in 1961. I first watched in about 1965 at age 12, and fell in love with all the characters immediately and the songs.

West Side Story was inspired by Romeo and Juliet with script by Arthur Laurents with music and lyrics by the brilliant Leornard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.

Set in the Upper West Side in New York in the 1950, the story is about the rivalry between to street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Exploring the issues created between the ethnic groups was unusual in a musical at that time, but it worked…

In 1961 the musical film adaptation starring  Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn was released. Winning ten Academy Awards including Best Picture.

The song that moved me the most when I first heard it was ‘Maria’, and even after several reruns, that is still the case, although I also rather like ‘Something’s Coming’ and ‘Tonight’.

However, I did not really appreciate how beautiful a song it actually was, until I heard it performed by actor/singer Julian Ovenden for the BBC Proms.. WOW…

Thanks to BBC – Sung beautifully by actor and singer Julian Ovenden

Buy or rent the Movie Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have a favourite song from the movies let me know…  thanks Sally


37 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Music Column – Songs from the Movies – ‘Maria’ from West Side Story by Sally Cronin

  1. This is one of my favourite movies, too, Sally. There are SO many good songs in there, it is a Masterpiece. I too remember going to see it at the cinema all those years ago. I have it on DVD, not wishing to lose it when the VCR tape faded. 🙂
    And I love the action and dancing in America – just SO unique.
    Thanks for the video of Julian Ovenden too – a truly superb rendition.
    I would love to sit and watch the video right now, but at 01.40 I think it’s way past my bedtime already.
    xx Ann

    Liked by 1 person

  2. West Side Story is certainly my favorite of all musical comedies and Maria is simply the best. Kudos to Julian Ovenden for a masterful performance. Thanks for sharing, Sally. Big hugs.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post on this classic song which I came to love after seeing a tv programme on the music, with Leonard Bernstein back in the 1980s. He worked with tenor Jose Carreras and Dame Kiri te Kanawa to rehearse and perform songs from the show it was probably done by the BBC and must be archived somewhere. It was great seeing two top operatic stars being coaxed to get exactly the phrasing Bernstein wanted. This is a wonderful clip here from the BBC Proms and a superb performance. Glad I stumbled across this post.
    P.S Apparently I was named after the two female leads in the show – Anita and Maria.

    Liked by 1 person

      • They really don’t! When my teaching partner asked me, “Who are Rodgers and Hammerstein?” I wanted to break down and cry. How could you have never seen South Pacific, or Carousel, or… the list goes on. West Side Story was a modern break from R&H, and it worked, beautifully. Did I ever tell you that the first time I saw my mother cry was when we watched the movie Carousel together? I was a teenager. Sorry for the ramble, Sally.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No apologies needed Jennie.. my mother introduced me to musicals very early.. she needed a fast runner. My father every Saturday afternoon, always watched the featured football match, for about ten minutes, then filled with his own homemade steak and kidney buy and dessert would drop off. At that point my mother would make me run to the television and switch channels to the only other channel for the Saturday afternoon musical. My job was to sit close to the set and at any sign of my father stirring to switch back to the football. I reckon we got to see at least 90% of the film..and I loved them.. My father would usually stir about 10 minutes before the end of the game and comment how great the match had been!! I went on to watch them all again and like you I cannot imagine a life without musicals.. sorry for my

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  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 26th January to 1st February 2020 – West Side Story, A-Z of Food, Guests, Funny moments and Books Galore | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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