West Side Story

July 22, 2009;  Palace Theatre

Jerome Robbins’s choreography, as reproduced by Joey McKneely, holds up in this revival of West Side Story.  In fact these actors and actresses are primarily dancers.  The singing and acting are OK, mostly;  nothing special in those areas.  But it is the dancing which shows the main abilities and training of this cast.  Not a problem, and I probably would have made the same choice as physical movement is essential to this play.  It is hard to find performers who can do it all.

“America” was one of the hot numbers and “Gee, Officer Krupke” was the other.  The sets and changes were quite well done and some transitions from scene to scene were mini-scenes themselves.  Curtis Holbrook as Action does a bang up job in leading the Jets in the aforementioned “Gee, Officer Krupke.” One of the very best songs in the play, as well as one of the best acted and choreographed in this production.

Much has been written about the use of Spanish dialog and lyrics, and I have no problem with making the play more realistic by this device, but there are some things which theatre-goers expect and are entitled to.  For one, if you wish to insert “Me Siento Hermosa” as the Spanish version of “I Feel Pretty,” fine.  But you can’t leave out the English version which everyone is familiar with.  I waited for Maria to sing the English version and was disappointed when she did not.  Bad choice.

Not as good a revival as I wanted it to be.