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Tony or Riff? 
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Post Tony or Riff?
Based on the movie (I haven't seen the stage version :( ), which character do you like best? I like Riff, just because he seems more interesting to me and seems to be more exciting than Tony...I know that if I was a guy and was going for a part in WSS I'd want to play Riff more.

What about you?

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Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:51 am
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Definitely Riff.
Tony and Maria's characters are so boring. Though, they are the main part of the story, I think they are the weakest part of the story.


Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:54 pm
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Tony's part is so boring. The entire star crossed lovers part of the story is pretty boring.
The gang violence is where it's at.

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Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:48 pm
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Tony is such a wuss.

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Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:55 am
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Post Tony or Riff?
Superstar83 wrote:
(W)hich character do you like best?


I like the character of Tony better, because he dares to imagine a life beyond the gangs. And I think, as an actor, you can create a really interesting character using the tension between that dream and the very real circumstances that keep Tony from realising it.

I think that Richard Beymer, in the film, was (like most of the cast) too old and pretty bland. Russ Tamblyn as Riff certainly gives a better performance. Although I think the dramatic flow is great in the restructured screenplay, I think that Robbins and Wise were too focused on (a) preserving the choreography on film and (b) the gimmick of the real locations. For me, this diluted the performances that should be at the heart of this production.

I also don't like the moments where numbers end with the cast members looking directly at the camera - I find that these pull me out of the reality of the story.

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Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:53 am
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Post Depends on what you're looking for..
Riff has a bit more stage time. Tony has the more "mushy" parts of the show. Personally I would want to be Riff. I wanted to be a Jet, had to be a Shark. Good thing we did the movie version of "America" or I would have been so bored.

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Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:49 pm
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Personally, I'm all for Bernardo ;) but in this case, I'd say Riff is more interesting. He's very energetic, kind in your face...but all in all he's a good guy. I do like Tony though, but he deserves getting a slap in the face from Doc, because half the time he's out in la la land... still a likeable guy, I suppose... but Riff definitely has more of a prescence.

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Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:55 am
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i like tony. he's down to earth and has some great songs to show off his voice. plus, his looks aren't half bad, either :wink:

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Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:30 pm
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I would love to be Riff


Sat Dec 17, 2005 3:50 am
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I think the roles in the film were well cast.
When I first saw the film I was thinking that Russ Tamblyn just didn't have the features to carry of the lead-role in a "Romeo and Juliet"-style play, I was relieved to find that Riff was not the lead role.

I do prefer the gang songs to Tony's songs.


Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:04 pm
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I have played both Riff and Tony in scratch performances (one the day after the other, fun!), and Riff is definatly a funner character to play :D

But Tony has such beautiful songs, and he is so much more passionate than Riff :)

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Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:24 pm
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Post Re: Tony or Riff?
RainbowJude wrote:
I like the character of Tony better, because he dares to imagine a life beyond the gangs. And I think, as an actor, you can create a really interesting character using the tension between that dream and the very real circumstances that keep Tony from realising it.

I think that Richard Beymer, in the film, was (like most of the cast) too old and pretty bland.


Well said! Even Beymer expressed bemusement that "I was a kid from Iowa trying to pass myself off as a tough ex-gang leader."

I'll reiterate something I said in an old, vanished post...many people claim that the lovers are the blandest part of the show. (That's a criticism that sometimes plagues the source material--some critics claim that all the life in Romeo and Juliet dies with Mercutio.) But it shouldn't be that way. More importantly, it doesn't HAVE to be.

Too many Tonys just copy Beymer as a dreamy pretty boy...but remember, this is a former gang member. He does want more and is capable of reaching for more, but his past and his propensity for violence is always part of him. That's what takes over during the rumble, with such tragic results. If that isn't brought out, then it's going to be a mystery why this perfectly nice young man was driven to murder.

The only time Beymer's Tony actually hits this note is when Bernardo is taunting him, he automatically snaps into fighting stance...and then looks at his clenched fists in horror and disbelief.

In one of the best productions I've seen, Tony took it much further...his "DON'T PUSH ME!" just before all hell broke loose wasn't a wimpy plea, but a desperate warning...he knew only too well what he was capable of when pushed.

You might want to visit JerseyJohn's WSSOnstage site. There's a terrific essay on the stage versus the movie version which contains some excellent insights into Tony and Maria (even though he seems to lay a little too much blame at Maria's feet). Read it at: http://www.wssonstage.com/MakingNice.html

And speaking of Maria...if an actress can really bring out the fact that she, too, is longing for more than the kind of life her elders (and that even includes her not-much-older brother) have planned for her, it would add even more spark to the relationship. She and Tony have that in common...they are both longing to break out of the mold. I mean, think about it...she comes from a culture, where, it seems that marriages are often arranged (none of her peers seem to be subject to this, but perhaps she's the youngest daughter and her parents are old-fashioned). Love is expected to come after marriage for her. But she wants more out of life, wants real, mutual love, wants someone she can be a real partner to...and she finds that in Tony. If Tony had never come along, I imagine she would have gone along with the marriage to Chino out of duty to her parents' wishes, and tried hard to love him...but because she wanted more, deep in her heart, would only have ended up unhappy. Perhaps, despite the tragedy, it was better to have had that moment, "even if it only lasts from one night to the next"?

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Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:09 am
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