zum Inhalt zur Navigation



West Side Story

Musical by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins und Stephen Sondheim

In deutscher und englischer Sprache mit Übertiteln

Based on a Conception of Jerome Robbins
Book by Arthur Laurents    
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
German translation of the dialogs by Marcel Prawy
Entire Original Production Directed and Choreographed by Jerome Robbins
Originally Produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by arrangement with Roger L. Stevens
The transfer of performance rights is carried out in agreement with MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL, Stage Distribution for Austria: Josef Weinberger Vienna.

Just as William Shakespeares’ Romeo and Juliet are born into rival families, Maria and Tony are linked to rival gangs. Tony is a Jet, a gang of white American youths led by his best friend Riff. Maria’s brother Bernardo is the leader of the Sharks, a gang of Puerto Rican immigrants. Maria and Tony fall in love, the gangs fight, Tony happens to kill Maria’s brother. Maria, who still loves Tony, agrees to elope with him. But Tony receives a fake message saying that Maria is dead ...

We would like to inform - especially families - that the West Side Story includes depictions of violence and sexual violence.

Place: Upper West Side, New York City
Time: 1957, late Summer

Prolog: The streets of the Upper West Side in Manhattan are the territory of the Jets, a gang of American teenagers. Increasingly, they are involved in fights with the Sharks, a gang of immigrants, who are also disparagingly called "Spics" by the Jets. The police are often forced to intervene.  

Act I

„Something's Coming …“ (Tony)              

5 pm. The Jets decide to challenge the Sharks to a decisive battle for control of the neighborhood. Riff, their leader, is to present the challenge that evening at the youth club to Bernardo, leader of the Sharks.  

5:30 pm. Riff talks his old friend Tony in the back alley of “Doc’s Drugstore”, where Tony works, into rejoining the Jets and going with him to present the challenge at the dance.  

6 pm. Anita, the girlfriend of Bernardo, is trying on a dress with his sister Maria at the bridal shop where they work. Maria, who only recently has arrived in New York, should wear it at the dance at the youth club in the evening. The family expects her to marry Chino, Bernardo's best friend. 

10 pm. In the tense atmosphere between the two gangs at the youth club, Tony and Maria meet for the first time and instantly fall in love. Angry that his sister is consorting with “one of them”, Bernardo sends her home with Chino. Bernardo and Riff arrange a meeting in Doc's shop to set the rules for the decisive battle. Tony, meanwhile, is utterly enchanted by Maria. 

11 pm. Tony has come, unnoticed, to the apartment where Maria lives with her family. He calls to her, and Maria appears on the balcony. They declare their love for one another and arrange to meet the next day at the bridal shop.

Reflecting on the confrontation at the youth club, Anita tells the hot-tempered Bernardo not to be so strict with Maria – after all, they live in America now, where girls have a right to have fun. Anita confidently affirms her hope for a future in her new home, the “land of opportunity”: I like to be in America! 

Midnight. Jets and Sharks negotiate the rules for the fight at Doc’s shop. Tony has been on a completely "different planet" ever since he met Maria and tries to calm the heated atmosphere. He proposes a fair duel without weapons between the best of each gang. But Doc is afraid that it will turn into more than a duel … 

The next day. 5:30 pm. As arranged, Tony comes to the bridal shop. Tony promises Maria that there won’t be any fight. Between the wedding dresses in the store, the two lovers imagine their own wedding. 

6 pm. The two gangs prepare for the nightly fight. Meanwhile, Anita longs for the promised rendezvous with her beloved Bernardo, and elsewhere Maria and Tony are in seventh heaven with their young love: Tonight. 

9pm. Tony tries in vain to mediate at the last second, but the planned duel escalates into a fight "dog eat dog". A catastrophe follows: Bernardo stabs Riff, whereupon Tony – blind with rage at the death of his friend – murders Bernardo.  

Act II

“I have a love, and it's all that I have.” (Maria) 

9:15 pm. Maria and the other Shark girls are in a cheerful mood. Suddenly, Chino appears and tells them the terrible news of the fight. Maria can’t believe it. Soon, Tony himself arrives and tries to explain how it all happened. He asks for her forgiveness, planning to turn himself in to the police, but Maria wants him to stay. They spend a moment of togetherness and wish for a better world: Somewhere, there’s a place for us. 

10 pm. The situation between the gangs and the police has tightened after the fight. When the Jets get back together, they are united by a common enemy: Officer Krupke. They vent their anger in a parody about how they are viewed by the executive authority and society. Anybodys, a girl who for long has been begging to be taken into the gang, reports that Chino has told the Sharks all about Maria and Tony and has sworn to kill Tony. The Jets set out to find Tony.  

11:30 pm. When Anita comes home, Maria quickly sends Tony ahead to Doc's shop; she wants to follow later and plans to escape with him. Anita immediately realizes that Tony has been there, and she is furious: A boy like that ... But when Lieutenant Shrank arrives to interrogate Maria, Anita makes her way to the drugstore to warn Tony. 

11:40 pm. Anita searches in vain for Tony, who is hiding in the cellar of Doc’s shop, guarded by the Jets. The young men's distrust of their rivals is now so severe that it doesn't even occur to them that Anita could have good intentions ... Hatred and suspicion escalate: the young men assault the defenseless woman. Finally, Anita's hatred has awakened, and she claims that Chino killed Maria. 

11:50 pm. Doc tells Tony that Maria is dead – murdered by Chino …  

Midnight. Tony wanders through the streets desperately; suddenly he meets Maria – whom he thought was dead. The two run up to each other ... but their newfound love only lasts for a moment.


Ben Glassberg
Stage direction
Lotte de Beer
Costume design
Jorine van Beek
Lighting design
Alex Brok
Bryan Arias
Martin Lukesch
Oliver Liebl
Christof Messner
Peter Lesiak
Rico Salathé
Baby John
Liam Solbjerg
David Eisinger
Kevin O'Dwyer
Fin Holzwart
Melanie Böhm
Eva Zamostny
Teresa Jentsch
Ilvy Schultschik
Tara Randell
Anneke Brunekreeft
Josefine Tyler
Bernadette Leitner
Claudia Artner
Lionel von Lawrence
James Park
Malick Afocozi
William Briscoe-Peake
Emilio Moreno Arias
Wei Ken Liao
Jaime Lee Rodney
Dario Scaturro
Kevin Perry
Jaye Simmons
Myrthes Monteiro
Sophia Gorgi
Roberta Monção
Danai Simantiri
Elies de Vries
Jessica Scorpio
Maura Oricchio
Bianca Pizzagalli
Axel Herrig
Detective Schrank
Nicolaus Hagg
Officer Krupke
Tobias Voigt
Georg Wacks
Ein Kind
Emilija Williams
Kilian Berger

Photos and Videos

Press comments

New West Side Story: an exhilarating dance inferno.
Kurier 29. January 2024
West Side Story (...), which now at the Volksoper is likely to become a blockbuster.
Der Standard 29. January 2024
The audience was thrilled, and Lotte de Beer's direction was celebrated. Now, the Volksoper has an outstanding musical production.
Radio klassik 29. January 2024
The West Side Story joins the current success series at the Volksoper. The young ensemble and the excellent conductor Ben Glassberg tell the story captivatingly and credibly.
Zeit im Bild 28. January 2024
The reinterpretation is successful, largely freed from the nostalgic dust of the decades, in which the idealized gaze is directed back to the harsh core of the work.
APA 28. January 2024
The dance is more than anything else the wow factor of the show. Add to that the tonal variety with which the Volksoper Orchestra depicts all shades of human emotions.
Kurier 29. January 2024
With resounding applause and standing ovations, the premiere of this classic's new production also came to an end. Director Lotte de Beer has succeeded in creating a gripping and moving staging that, without any kitsch or pathos, focuses on the essentials: racism and violence on one side, and a yearning for belonging and love on the other.
Falter 31. January 2024
Full of tempo, dance, and youthful energy.
Die Presse 29. January 2024
Choreographer Bryan Arias and the phenomenally dancing ensemble achieve something extraordinary.
Kronen Zeitung 29. January 2024
Another newcomer in Vienna proves to be a stroke of luck: Bryan Arias, born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York. His breathtakingly fast-paced choreography follows its own score: counteracting dance styles – sharper and more direct for the urban Jets, flowing and expansive for the Sharks with their Puerto Rican roots.
Kurier 29. January 2024
Lively and jazzy, with a tight pace.
APA 28. January 2024
This West Side Story could also become a hit. The principal, Lotte de Beer, directed the work without fuss and without forced modernization.
Radio klassik 29. January 2024
With such a brilliant choreography, as conceived by Puerto Rico-born Bryan Arias for this subject, one is not served every day: virtuosically presented and in perfect harmony with Lotte de Beer's staging. (...) The success story of the West Side Story at the Volksoper thus continues.
Furche 01. February 2024