Venue: Beijing Exhibition Theater
With descriptive review commentaries and background history on many classic, landmark films in cinematic history, especially American/Hollywood films. Including posters, Academy Awards history, film genres, film terms, film history by decade, trivia, and lots of lists of 'best' films, stars, scenes, quotes, resources, etc.
The production opens with a danced Prologue indicating the bitter tensions between the Jets, a self-styled "American" street gang, and the Sharks, a group of young Puerto Ricans. The leader of the Jets, Riff swears to drive the Sharks, led by Bernardo, from the streets (Jet Song). Riff determines to challenge Bernardo that night at a dance in the gym, and prevails upon his old friend and the co-founder of the Jets, Tony, to help him. Tony has been growing away from the gang, and feels the stirrings of other emotions (Something's Coming) but agrees.
Bernardo's sister Maria, newly arrived from Puerto Rico to marry his friend Chino, attends the dance (The Dance at the Gym) and despite the obvious hatred between the gangs meets Tony, who at once falls in love with her (Maria). Later, after the dance, while the gangs begin to assemble at Doc's drugstore to choose a place and weapons for their rumble - a gang fight - Tony visits Maria on the fire escape of her apartment, and they pledge their love (Tonight), promising to meet the next afternoon at the bridal shop where Maria works. As he departs, the Sharks take their girls home and go off to the drugstore, while a playful argument develops between Anita and two homesick Puerto Rican girls over the relative merits of life back home and in Manhattan (America).
At the drugstore, the Jets are nervous about the approaching meeting with the Sharks, but Riff advises them to play it cool (Cool), and when the Sharks arrive, an agreement is reached, at Tony's insistence, to have a fair, bare-handed fight between the two best fighters in each gang the next night, under the highway. Next day, Tony visits Maria at the shop and among the clothing dummies they enact a touching wedding ceremony (One Hand, One Heart). Maria makes him promise to stop the fight between his gang and her brother's. In the quintet Tonight, Tony and Maria sing of their love, Anita makes plans for a big evening, and Bernardo and Riff and their gangs make their own plans for the rumble.