The 2020 revival of “West Side Story” will not return to Broadway, producer Kate Horton said Monday.
Bringing back the revival was “not a practical proposition,” Horton said in a statement. The musical was one of producer Scott Rudin’s projects and his last show to announce whether or not it would return.
Horton has taken over Rudin’s role in the upcoming revival of “The Music Man,” following Rudin’s declaration that he would “step back” from producing due to allegations of workplace harassment. Rudin’s other Broadway productions, “The Lehman Trilogy,” “The Book of Mormon” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” have announced reopening plans with different leaders at the helm.
Directed by Ivo van Hove, the “West Side Story” revival opened at the Broadway Theatre on Feb. 20, 2020, featuring Isaac Powell as Tony, Shereen Pimentel as Maria and 33 cast members making their Broadway debuts. The musical faced challenges early on, with Powell sustaining a knee injury during previews, pushing back the production’s opening night. Ben Cook, who played Riff, later departed the show due to an injury sustained during the show, which, at points, featured a rain-soaked stage.
The production also faced protests outside the theater against the casting of Amar Ramasar, who had been accused of sharing sexually explicit photos during his time at New York City Ballet. Ramasar’s name has since been dropped from a lawsuit brought against him and other members of the ballet company.
Broadway News critic Charles Isherwood praised the innovative spirit van Hove brought to the production, but said the musical, which used extensive video footage, felt “more like being at the movies than at the theater.”
The musical, which began performances Dec. 10, 2019, then had its run cut short by the March 12, 2020 theatrical shutdown. “West Side Story” was later deemed ineligible for the 2019-2020 Tony Awards season, due to the Feb. 19, 2020 cutoff date set by administrators.
Still, “West Side Story” showed signs that it might return. In July, “West Side Story” received a $10 million grant from the government and a spokesperson said the show was in the midst of “planning its reopening schedule.” As part of the $10 million Shuttered Venues Operator Grant, the “West Side Story” team was required to include in its application an “intent to reopen with an estimated reopening date.”
A spokesperson for the production said Monday that the full grant funding will be returned.
“It is with great regret that we are announcing today that the 2020 Broadway revival of ‘West Side Story’ will not reopen,” Horton’s statement reads. “This difficult and painful decision comes after we have explored every possible path to a successful run, and unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, reopening is not a practical proposition. We thank all the brilliant, creative artists who brought ‘West Side Story’ to life at the Broadway Theatre, even for so brief a time, especially the extraordinary acting company, 33 of whom made their Broadway debuts in this production.”