CAROL LAWRENCE, RESPLENDENT IN PLEATS
Fleeing the 90 minutes of torture called IMPRESSIONISM, the play, I ran into the hottest couple in NYC, on the subway platform, waiting for the No. 1 train: Grover Dale, ultra-dapper in hiply creative black tie, and Carol Lawrence, looking like a queen in extravagantly pleated black taffeta with an amazing portrait collar. WEST SIDE STORY’s original Maria and Jet Snowboy, still a couple of sensible train-traveling gypsies, after all these years, had just come from the opening night of the musical’s revival at the Theater, and were on their way to the party in Chelsea.
Dapper Grover Dale
“Okay, what did you think of it?” I asked Lawrence. ‘We so enjoyed it!” she said. “It’s WEST SIDE STORY, so no matter what you do to it, it can’t be ruined. It’s still ROMEO & JULIET, still a great New York story. The cast was wonderful, and so very young.
Chita Rivera and Carol Lawrence: “A Boy Like that”
“Arthur [Laurents, the director and original book author] really wanted to make this right up to the minute, and much of it works. He had them performing in Spanish at times for complete authenticity. This worked when they said things like “Get away!” with a lot of pantomiming and gestures to convey the meaning. But to sing “I Feel Pretty” in Spanish for all those bars, you lose a lot of the words, the little jokes. If you know the original lyrics, it’s all right, but this will be lost on new audiences.
JEROME ROBBINS REHEARSING THE STABBING SCENE; GROVER DALE IS UNDER HIS ARM
“Arthur also removed the entire ballet, which was a shame. Grover, you helped create so much of the dance, and I missed it, the pas de deux, the scherzo. I think Arthur always hated that ballet because there were no words.”
(Dale interjected here, “I don’t think he understood it.”)
“They changed some of Jerome Robbins’ choreography, which they shouldn’t have. And, at the end, to have this child come out and sing ‘Somewhere’! Who was he – the child of Maria and Tony? Was it a dream, or a projection of the future? That totally ruined the mood and broke everything up.”
Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert, the original Maria and Tony
Dale and Lawrence were just as interested in hearing about IMPRESSIONISM, as well as ROOMS, the new Off-Broadway musical advertised in the subway car we sat in. We were so conversationally engrossed that I’m afraid they missed their 23rd Street stop and had to get out at 18th, but a few blocks’ walk, I’m sure, are nothing to this fabulously energetic, eternally youthful duo.
Jerome Robbins’ early morning ballet class on the movie set of WEST SIDE STORY