“Beulah Annan” wouldn’t make a very good song title, but “Roxie Hart,” works just fine. And that girl Roxie has really been around. She was based on Beulah who shot her lover dead (they both reached for the gun) and was acquitted in 1920s Chicago with her stalwart mechanic husband by her side. Beulah divorced him soon after, saying he was “dull.”
Gritty and earthy, Arthur Laurent’s West Side Story had a profound effect on its audiences when it opened on Broadway in 1957 and indeed some say the Leonard Bernstein score, the Stephen Sondheim lyrics, and the smashing choreography by Jerome Robbins changed the course of American musical theater forever.