Saturday, 5 July 2014

A special day.

Today is a special day. My late Mum and Dad were married in 1953. The Broadway production of West Side Story came to the West End in 1958. Mum and Dad saw it half a dozen times. Think about that. That meant queuing at the box-office, for the hottest ticket in town, six times. They adored it. The cast had come over from Broadway, most of them then made it into the film. I always think of my young Mum, in her early 20's, not thirty feet from George Chakiris.
When the film came out, in 1961, they already had 4 kids but managed to see it more than a dozen times. It was 'their film'. Today, Jan and I are at the Royal Albert Hall for a screening of the film with the music track removed. In front of us, an orchestra will play Leonard Bernstein's glorious music, live, to the original signing voices. We came to see it a couple of years ago, for the 50th anniversary of the film. The show has some big songs; America, Somewhere, Tonight, Maria and Something's Coming, to name but five. My Mum told me that One Hand, One Heart was her favourite song. I have watched the film countless times and have never got through this song without dissolving into a pool of tears. This afternoon will be no different. Peter & Betty Brannigan were two people emerging from the war, young, scared and in love. Even though the setting of the film was so alien to them, 'like another world,' my Mum said, they identified so much with the young couple, falling in love and not being able to do a thing about it. This afternoon I will honour their memory. And cry buckets.