Sunday, January 20, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Larry Kert

Artist:Larry Kert
Album:West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast

Of course most folks are familiar with the 1961 film of the musical West Side Story. But you may not be familiar with the original Broadway production in 1957. A lot of the actors who appeared on Broadway did not appear in the film. For example, Larry Kert played Tony on Broadway but Richard Beymer played Tony in the film. Unfortunately, West Side Story was probably the highlight of Kert's career. He was born Dec. 5, 1930 in Los Angeles and moved to New York after graduating from high school. While appearing in the chorus in the 1956 show Mr. Wonderful starring Sammy Davis Jr., Chita Rivera told Kert to audition for a show called Gateway. That was the original title of West Side Story. Kert was cut but then Stephen Sondheim saw him in another show and arranged another audition. This time Kert got the role and West Side Story was a huge hit on Broadway. The original cast album is available as a budget CD. There were a couple of reasons why Kert wasn't in the film of West Side Story. He didn't get along with director Jerome Robbins and at age 30 he was thought to be too old to play a teenager. Larry Kert appeared in several shows after that but was never able to have the success he had with West Side Story. He did get positive reviews when he replaced Dean Jones in the 1970 show Company. But a lot of the other shows he appeared in were flops. He was forced to quit a touring company of La Cage Aux Folles due to illness and died of AIDS on June 5, 1991 at age 60. Here's Larry Kert performing Maria and then Tonight with Carol Lawrence from West Side Story 1957.

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