When the dream team behind West Side Story– dancer and choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Leonard Bernstein, writer Arthur Laurents, and fledgling lyricist Stephen Sondheim – joined forces to write the 1957 Broadway show, they wanted to create a form of musical theatre that was “unlike anything done before”.

Some of the cast for Handa Opera’s West Side Story. Photo ©  Phillip Booth

The aim, said Robbins, who had first...

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