Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"West Side Story," DTLA

George Chakiris as "Bernardo" in the film, "West Side Story"

On Saturday, Larry and I attended the L.A. Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" event at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center.  Our friend, Debra Levine interviewed Oscar Winner, George Chakiris before the film.  It was wonderful hearing George talk about his role in "West Side Story" as Jets gang leader, Bernardo.  He and Debra imparted some interesting inside facts about the actual production process of the movie.  George was very gracious and entertaining.  He was mobbed after the screening for autographs and photos.  This was a special evening!

Debra Levine interviewing George Chakiris in front of the Tony Duquette-designed curtain at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Debra and George

I do love going to the Dorothy Chandler.  It's such an elegant building.  Those chandeliers!  The divine staircase, carpeted in a lush olive green tone.  The columns.  The fountain.  The golden Tony Duquette designed curtain in the theater.  It all adds up to an enchanted evening.

Larry dressed in the style of a member of the Sharks gang:  60's windbreaker, t-shirt, tennis shoes. Just call him "Rif" the next time you see him.  I decided to dress a bit more elegantly, befitting the sophistication of the Music Center!  Our friend, Rory is a volunteer for the L.A. Conservancy.  He always wears his usher ensemble!

Rory will escort you to your seat!

I've seen "West Side Story" at least a hundred times.  I remember seeing it when it opened at the Picwood Theater on Pico near Westwood.  After the 1961 opening, many of my girlfriends and I would take the Pico bus to the Picwood to see the film many more times.  One of my friends during grammar school was the daughter of one of the producers of "West Side Story."  For a few years in a row, her Dad would show the film at her birthday party for us.  We were obsessed.  Our greatest obsession:  Bad Boy Bernardo!  Yes, George Chakiris was the heartthrob of that movie.  It was truly exciting for me to meet him at an art exhibit with Debra last year.  Sigh.  He's still so handsome and charming!
I'm still singing all of those great songs from the film! 
Saul Bass design

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