Is West Side Story the best score ever written for musical theatre?

Is West Side Story the best score ever written for musical theatre? Many people would say so, and Nigel Simeone opens the introduction to his new book with this sentiment.

Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story was published last month, and we were delighted to see it recommended by the Independent in their list of the “Best music books for Christmas”.

offers a fascinating glimpse into the greatest musical of all, drawing on letters between its creators to put it in context and to show why, half a century on, it endures.

Nigel Simeone writes about the book and what inspired him to write it on

Other reviews:

Nigel Simeone’s new book, Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story, offers a behind the scenes, intimate and illuminating insight into the genesis and creation of one of America’s landmark musical achievements. This is a book that will appeal to the West Side Story enthusiast as well as those curious about the collaborative creative process.
Marin Alsop, Music Director Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Musicologists are finding the Broadway musical a rich field for study after long experience writing about more hallowed areas. Nigel Simeone is the latest and one of the most exciting of these, and his West Side Storyis as richly rewarding as his earlier and ongoing work on French music. Because he has researched the show’s genesis, history, musical manuscripts, structure, meaning and reception so extensively, probing a great deal further than previous scholarship, and yet writes it all up so simply and approachably, his book will be welcomed equally by scholars, students and general readers devoted (and who isn’t?) to this epoch-making show.
Stephen Banfield, Stanley Hugh Badock Professor of Music, University of Bristol, UK

2 thoughts on “Is West Side Story the best score ever written for musical theatre?

  1. villabourani

    Hmm, didn’t know about that book, in answer to your main question…Yes it is! I just wrote a post on my blog about that very fact today 🙂


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