There’s an interview with West Side Story‘s original Maria, Carol Lawrence, over at the Examiner. The West Side Story related questions, posed by interviewer Steven Slatten, follow:
How did you end up playing the role of Maria? “I came to New York to see what the audition scene was like. I had a full scholarship to Northwestern. I saw at a News Stand on 42nd Street that there was an open call (for West Side Story) at the Winter Garden Theatre. I thought I could just go and observe a New York Audition process. I had no intention of auditioning. I got there and I was informed that I had to Audit. I didn’t at the time know what that meant. The man said to me “You put on your dance wear and you join the line.” I didn’t know what was happening. At the end of the day I had been cast in the show. My father didn’t want me to do it but he eventually was OK with it. It sounds like some kind of Betty Gable movie right?”
Yes it does, when you were cast in the now iconic role of Maria, did you know that theatre history was being made? “Yes, everyone in the company knew that this was huge. It was going to be a huge hit or a mega-flop. It was the first time in the history of Broadway that it wasn’t a Musical Comedy. Since it was something more we created a new term. We gave birth to the term musical theatre.”
Did you see the current revival on Broadway? “I saw it opening night; I felt it was a wonderful production of the show.”
Do you feel that the new addition of Spanish is beneficial to the show? “I felt that the Spanish got in the way for many of the audience members. They were often lost because of it. I have heard that they have since changed it back to the English version. It’s a happy return to a very good production.”
Apparently, she also has a cookbook coming out!