West Side Story's 50th Anniversary

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the multiple Academy Award-winning West Side Story, there's a nationwide screening of the digitally restored film. At the screening, you'll be looking at Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno and the rest of the sensational cast, but you'll be listening to someone else during the songs. Except for George Chikiris, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Bernardo, all of the other leads were at least partially dubbed.

Wood had pre-recorded the score in Hollywood, but once filming was complete and she was off the picture, the producers pulled the classic switcheroo and brought in Marni Nixon (The King and I, Gypsy, My Fair Lady), who had been on the payroll since the production had returned from location shooting in New York. Nixon actually sang a duet with herself in the film. Rita Moreno, as fiery Anita, sang “America” in her own voice but was dubbed by singer Betty Wand (Gigi, South Pacific) for “A Boy Like That.”

Both Moreno and Wand were ill when “Quintet” was recorded, so Nixon recorded for Moreno and Wood. When the soundtrack album blasted to No.1 in the country, Nixon sued the producers for a percentage of the stratospheric royalties. And in a very non-Hollywood gesture, composer Leonard Bernstein offered her a percentage of his earnings. Wand settled out of court.

West Side Story's tender love story, huge dance numbers and, most of all, incredible music, are still captivating today. This is a big musical, and it's great to get to see it on the big screen again. 7 p.m. at various theaters, including Houston Marq*E Stadium 22 plus IMAX, 7620 Katy Freeway, 713-263-7843. For information, visit www.fathomevents.com. $12.50.
Wed., Nov. 9, 7 p.m., 2011

 
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