Dance Mogul: What is the inspiration for putting a new spin on West Side Story?
Sue Samuels: My original inspiration came when a friend of mine, Milly Rockefeller, put the CD of the songs West Side Story in my hand and suggested I listen to it. The new orchestrations and current singers on the album inspired me to share this CD with my friend Billy Grey who then took the CD, edited the music into a 45-minute compilation which progressed in some organized way and said to me, “Here, It’s JAZZ ON THE WEST SIDE!!!” An electric shock of sorts ran through me and I became inspired to get this project up on its feet! The creative juices began to flow. My sister-dancer friends Kelly Carrol and Judy Emmett became involved and we began to write a new storyline backed up by the music from West Side Story. JAZZ ON THE WEST SIDE was born!
Dance Mogul: How will you honor the classic while still being creative for today’s audience?
Sue Samuels: The great classic West Side Story is being honored by using the music to inspire a brand NEW original storyline based on the various relationships which have come to light, representing heterosexual and homosexual inclinations. Also, we explore mixed race combinations using the classic jazz style of dance that was originally danced in West Side Story. And using other classic jazz styles of such famous choreographers as Jack Cole, Matt Mattox and Jo Jo Smith we put together in our own original choreography. We pay respect to the style of the classic show West Side Story.
Dance Mogul: How can a supporter of the arts help make this a successful production?
Sue Samuels: A supporter of the arts can help make this a successful production either by giving a tax-deductible donation on our website: www.jazzrootsdance.com or by attending one of our performances that are guaranteed to entertain!!
JOIN US FOR- JAZZ ON THE WEST SIDE!! A fun-filled event!!
Saturday, October 11th at 8:30 pm – GALA PERFORMANCE AND RECEPTION and Sunday, October 12th at 2 pm and 5 pm
Projections of original city-scapes painted by Sonya Sklaroff.
Salvatore Capezio Theater at the Peridance Capezio Center
126 East 13th Street, NY 10003
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you create this new vision?
Sue Samuels: I would like to thank Kelly Carrol, Billy Grey, and Judy Emmett, my creative team. Also, this would not be possible without my administrative work partners, Elka Samuels Smith and Jo Head. I could not have done this project without this power-house of a team!!!