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  West Side Story - Original Broadway Cast Album (1957) - Album Cover Location

The album cover. (courtesy Sony Music Entertainment; cover photo: Leo Friedman)

The album cover for the original Broadway cast album of West Side Story, a photo of Tony (Larry Kent) playfully chasing after his girlfriend Maria (Carol Lawrence), was photographed in front of 418 West 56th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenue, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City in 1957.

(photo: PopSpots)

Here's the album superimposed over the present day location.

(photo: courtesy Sony Music Entertainment; photo: Leo Friedman)

And a variation...

(photo overlay: courtesy Sony Music Entertainment; photo: Leo Friedman)

And another variation....

(photo overlay: courtesy Sony Music Entertainment; photo: Leo Friedman)

How I found the album cover location...

How did I find it? Pretty simple. If you look closly at the garbage can to the left of Maria -- the address is right on it! 418 West 56th Street.

In the photo below, I've turned it sideways so that it's easier to see:

Then it as just a simple matter of finding it on a map...

Here's the entrance to 418 West 56th Street, a four-story walk-up, in a neighborhood of mostly 5-story walk-ups, much like the one in which Maria might have lived in in the musical, set in the mid-1950's New York...

...and some of the local teens hanging out on the stoop after school.

The photographer of the cover, Leo Friedman, a legendary photographer of Broadway musicals, especially during the 50's and 60's, passed away in December of 2011. The New York Times said this photo was "his signature image of a career taking pictures of actors in action."

In the Times obituary on Mr. Friedman, the Times quoted the photgrapher about the conception of his famous photograph: "I made a mark on the street, and I said to Carol: "I want Larry chasing you up the street. When you hit that mark, don't look at me down here, look up, with your head up," he recalled, adding "And that's what I took." (The New York Times, December 7, 2011)

For more recollections about the photo shoot in an interview with Leo Friedman, click to this 2007 article from Smithsonian magazine here.

Here's the moment once more:

(photo: Google Street View/courtesy Sony Music Entertainment; photo: Leo Friedman)

Some Quick facts about the Broadway production of West Side Story:
Opened on Broadway September 26, 1957
Script by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed and Choreographed by Jerome Robbins
Producted by Robert. E. Griffith and Hal Prince
Based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet