WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Missouri State University-West Plains’ “That’s Entertainment” Film Series will continue at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, with the Academy Award-winning musical “West Side Story” in the West Plains Civic Center theater.
Hosted by the Missouri State University-West Plains’ University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department, the series is in its 13th year and is being held each Thursday during the month of February. Admission is free.
The film, released in 1961, is based on the Broadway hit “West Side Story,” which itself was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet. The movie pits two New York City street gangs – the Jets led by Riff (Russ Tamblyn) and the Sharks led by Bernado (George Chakiris) – as the warring families, whose hatred escalates to tragic consequences for young lovers Tony (Richard Beymer) and Maria (Natalie Wood).
The film, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and was directed by famed Broadway choreographer Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, both of whom received Oscars for their direction on this film. “West Side Story” also received Oscars in the categories of best supporting actor (Chakiris), best supporting actress (Rita Moreno in the role of Anita), best art direction/set decoration, best cinematography, best costume design, best film editing, best musical score, best sound, and best adapted screenplay.
Robbins’ choreography in “West Side Story” is unmatched in its cinematic brilliance and blends with the other elements of the film to create an utterly distinctive movie experience, film series organizers said. The songs in “West Side Story” feature biting lyrics by Stephen Sondheim set to a magical score by Leonard Bernstein. The film is rated PG for stylized gang violence, mild language, brief innuendo and some smoking.
Discussion facilitators for this film will be Leah Johnson, owner of Attitude Dance and Arts Studio in West Plains, and Missouri State-West Plains per course music instructor Nancy Fohn.
This year’s series began Feb. 2 with the showing of “Singin’ in the Rain,” and will continue Feb. 16 and Feb. 23 with “The King and I” and “Grease: The Rockin’ Rydell (Sing-A-Long) Version,” respectively.
Organizers remind this year’s films are being shown at a new time, 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, so those planning to attend should mark their calendars accordingly.
For more information about the annual film series, call the U/CP Department office at 417-255-7966.