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Bernstein’s Annotated Copy of Romeo and Juliet.

William Shakespeare1940

 The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
New York, United States

Throughout this volume Bernstein made several notes for adapting Shakespeare’s play into a contemporary musical. In its early stage of development Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, and Leonard Bernstein considered replacing the feuding artistrocratic families with a Catholic and Jewish family. On the inside cover is a scene breakdown suggesting that the show open either at the Mulberry Street Festival or during Easter and Passover. Elsewhere, Bernstein’s notes suggest that a song entitled “Song on Racism” instead be entitled “It’s the Jews.” At the top of the title page, Bernstein writes “An out and out plea for racial tolerance,” and in the margin “Should be prologue interrupted by street fight.”

Details

  • Title: Bernstein’s Annotated Copy of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Creator: William Shakespeare
  • Date Created: 1940
  • Original Source: Library of Congress
  • Rights: Leonard Bernstein Office
  • Medium: Manuscript, mixed material

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