In 2017, the Broadway classic West Side Story celebrated its 60th anniversary and to honor this milestone, Latin Jazz drummer and composer Bobby Sanabria re-envisioned the soundtrack to what Latino New York City actually sounds like. The result was West Side Story Reimagined.

In the album, Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band infused classic numbers like “Tonight” and “America” with Latin Jazz and Samba.

Growing up as a Nuyorican kid in the Bronx, Sanabria first watched West Side Story in the movie theaters, ten years after the musical was adapted to film in 1961. “I was mesmerized,” said Sanabria.

Maria Hinojosa talks to the drummer and composer about what the iconic musical means to him and how he paid tribute to its legacy.

Featured image of Bobby Sanabria by Gabriel Moreno.

This piece originally aired in September of 2018.

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4 thoughts on “Bobby Sanabria Reimagines West Side Story

  1. Dear Latino USA,

    I’m a huge fan of your podcast!

    As a volunteer with The Borgen Project, I would love to hear The Borgen Project’s PSA air on Latino USA. The Borgen Project addresses extreme poverty and is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization (EIN 20-0536470).

    Thank you!

    Kristbell Aguilar

  2. I so enjoyed your interview with Bobby Sanabria–his insight into the complexity of the storyline of “West Side Story,” and his imaginative and exciting Latin jazz and samba-infused versions of the Bernstein score are wonderful. In all of this discussion of how the musical relates to Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1950s and to the LatinX immigration situation in NYC now, I heard no reference to the original inspiration of this masterpiece’s storyline–William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Tribalism, gang warfare, assumptions based on stereotypes, missed communication, and, of course, star-crossed lovers–it’s all there in this timeless and adaptable classic, which illustrates so well Shakespeare’s genius.

  3. Thank you for this important interview. My husband’s musical roots were nurtured by West Side Story when he was a boy, just like Bobby. Hearing this interview was so exciting for us. We are going to get West Side Story Reimagined.
    Gracias por todo.
    Julianna Cespedes

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