"To my ear, the orchestration of “West Side Story” towers above all others, a masterwork of complexity and beauty that still reveals marvels to my colleagues and me.The score’s eye-popping instrumental forces, too long to list here, involve everything from bass saxophone to slide whistle to three piccolos. Bernstein crafted 11 independent string parts to render his sublime love songs: 'Maria,' 'Tonight,' 'Somewhere' and 'One Hand, One Heart.'
"Soon, though, if all goes according to plan, these songs will be produced by a skeletal string section accompanied by an inert, artificial, electronic device, which an engineer will try to manipulate, hoping to deceive audiences into thinking it’s the real thing."
-Paul Woodiel, pit musician for the current West Side Story revival on Broadway. To survive into the third year of its run, his producers are replacing 5 of the 10 string players with a machine.