This vibrant, jazz-tinged score was Bernstein’s first collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins. Its patriotic high spirits affirm the energy and vitality of a great city – Bernstein’s beloved New York – during the anxious years of World War II. Bernstein describes the scenario: “Three sailors explode on the stage. They are on a 24-hour shore leave in the city and on the prowl for girls. The tale of how they first meet one, then a second girl, and how they fight over them, lose them, and in the end take off after a third, is the story of the ballet.” Robbins sought to create a quintessentially American ballet; Bernstein obliged him with a score that was kinetic and tuneful, refracting popular dance music styles through a prism of angular melodies and syncopated rhythms. The resulting ballet was a huge success, drawing sold-out crowds to the Metropolitan Opera House.