More than fifty years ago one musical changed theater forever. Now it’s back on Broadway mesmerizing audiences once again.
West Side Story is one of the greatest love stories ever told and the Broadway version of the show directed by Tony Award®-winner Arthur Laurents remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever.
The score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim — a collection of standards that includes “Tonight,” “America,” “Maria,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere” — is widely regarded as one of the best ever written. And the extraordinary, Tony®-winning choreography by Jerome Robbins completely changed the language of Broadway dance.
The revival of West Side Story, both on Broadway and on tour, incorporates some Spanish in the dialogue and lyrics. The tour of West Side Story employs the exact same script as the current smash hit Broadway production with no changes.
The story is a ode to William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
Set in New York City in the mid-1950s, the musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The young protagonist, Tony, one of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks.
The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre.
The production opened at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre on September 30 and will be running through October 16.
Wednesday night was press night and the gathered crowd was treated to a evening that brought a modern classic to life.
There has been some negative press on the fact that the Spanish language has been incorporated into the musical but I felt that it just added to the authenticity of the story.
Songs like “I Feel Pretty” were just enhanced by the Spanish dialogue and were easy to follow even if you did not understand the language.
This version of the story is a slightly modernized one with more overt sexual overtones.
The show’s actors did a great job of bringing their characters to life, particularly stars Kyle Harris (Tony), Ali Ewoldt (Maria), Michelle Aravena (Anita), Joseph J. Simeone (Riff) and German Santiago (Bernardo).
All of them are amazingly talented dancers and singers.
A show highlight was Maria and Anita’s bedroom duet and the full cast performance of “Tonight”.
The show’s final sequence and the firing of the gun was powerful enough to have the whole place jumping.
From the show’s actors to it’s design, sound and story, the production was a great retelling of the classic tale.
Tickets for the Detroit performances of the production are now on sale at the Fisher Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787 and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.broadwayindetroit.com.