Friday, January 13, 2012

January 11th, 2012 - West Side Story - Guest Post by Shauna!

Hi everyone!  This is Shauna from here to give you my review of Seattle's leg of the West Side Story tour!  Alex is guest posting over on my blog today, so stop on by to hear her tell some Harry Potter tales! 

West Side Story, the iconic tale of two star crossed lovers who keep getting pulled apart by their feuding families..oh wait I'm talking about Romeo and Juliet there, aren't I? 

West Side Story was actually inspired from Romeo and Juliet, and you can see that the two have striking similarities.  Two star crossed lovers, who fall in love instantly, are from different neighborhood gang.  Tony is a member of the white Jets, and Maria is the sister of Bernardo, leader of the Puerto Rican gang the Sharks.  The two hit a bump in the road when Tony accidentally kills Bernardo, but the two kids make it work, because what are lovers for, if not to kill your brother?

Mix those story lines together with some wicked sweet songs like "Tonight" "One Hand, One Heart" and the ever so classic "I Feel Pretty" and it sounds like the making of a wonderful musical to me! 

The performance was good, I won't deny that.  But there was something lacking that made me not fall in love.  And I like to be wooed.  It's hard for me to pinpoint why exactly I wasn't that into it, it could have been the two giant people sitting in front of me, or the two whispering girls behind me, but what it really seemed to lack was intimacy.

Let me elaborate.  A lot of this musical centered on hushed, concentrated emotion that was tough to succumb to in the middle of a giant packed theater.  The play didn't quite have enough action to keep me engaged and that kept my mind wandering instead of actively engaged in the show.  Another big pain for me was that when they revived the play in 2009, the director Arthur Laurents decided to add a bunch of Spanish dialogue and lyrics into the show.  The accents were so thick I could barely understand what they were saying in English, and when they were speaking Spanish, I just had to rely on being able to follow the implied action.  Sure, it added some flavor to the show and it was nice, but there were large chunks of dialogue lost on me.  Lastly, I also wasn't wild about the performer who played Maria- Evy Ortiz.

But don't let me only talk criticism about this wonderful show.  There's a reason West Side Story has been around as long as it has.  Let me talk about what I liked:
  • The dancing- there was a lot of coordinated ballet moves that I just loved.  Even the salsa dancing seemed to be made up of ballet.  Heaven!
  • Hearing some wonderful songs performed live is always exciting.  My favorite ended up being "Somewhere" even though I didn't enjoy that song when they did it on Glee.
  • The old school rumbling of teenage boys was hilarious.  Watching kids try to stab each other and saying things such as "save it for the rumble!" "just skins!" and "don't call me a hoodlum!"  made a nice comedic relief- even though the comedy was just laughing at how kids talked back in the day.
  • The Puerto Rican dresses!  I want one! 
  • Tim wants me to add that he really liked the "cop song" which is actually called "Gee, Officer Krupke"
  • The coordinated fights were well laid out, and of course led by some ballet moves.  I loved seeing people "jump" on one another artistically.

Anyway, that concludes this review!  Another show that doesn't measure up to Phantom of the Opera, but not on my sh!t list either :)!

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