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West Side Story Revival Review 
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Broadway Legend
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Post West Side Story Revival Review
I saw the revival of West Side Story on Sunday March 28 and I was very disappointed at how poorly this production was done. YOU CAN'T MODERNIZE WEST SIDE STORY! What I did like about the show was the dancing and the vocals but everything else was disgraceful. I'm surprised that West Side Story has gotten back the money that they have put into this production. The only reason why this could be in my opinion would be people who know the original West Side Story and would like to go and see it. I wouldn't go see this production again! I would feel bad for the actors and actresses that are good in this show and deserve to be there but that show needs to close because it is a disgrace to the original West Side Story. Here's what I disliked about the production:
~ The changing around of the storyline from the movie version of West Side Story. It didn't make sense that the Jets were celebrating after Riff had just died. "Gee, Officer Krupke" goes better in Act I than in Act II.
~ The scenes with Tony and Maria I fell asleep in (litterally) because they were so boring and unengaging.
~ Josefina Scaglione, who played Maria, sang beautifully but she simply doesn't belong in West Side Story because her voice has an opera feel to it not like someone who would sing on Broadway. I also didn't like the way she played Maria because she was too winy and nasal.
~ Matthew Hydzik, who played Tony, had good vocals but didn't fit Tony's character as the same race as the Sharks. He was just a white guy going around and playing Tony. Most of the casting for this production was disappointing. I expected better on Broadway.
~ Natalie Cortez, who played Anita, was wonderful! I loved everything that she did with her character. The only thing I would change is that in "America" there needed to be more diction from the ladies in that number because it was hard to hear what they were saying. Also, to bring back the Shark guys in that scene. It worked well with just the Shark girls but "America" is the Shark's song and "Jet Song" is the Jet's.
~ I saw the reason for "I Feel Pretty" to be sung in Spanish but I though it took more away for the show in making it more complicated than adding anything to the show. Also, taking away the word "gay" for "bright" in the song I understood as the show is modernized but I was shooked that that was done. "Bright" doesn't even work. Another word could have been used that would have been better.
~ "Somewhere" had no plot progression to the storyline what so ever! I honestly didn't know why it was in the show. Also, Michael Kleeman, who played Kiddo, had his back turned to the audience the whole time he was singing. #-o THAT'S A BASIC THING IN THEATRE! YOU'RE ALWAYS FACING THE AUDIENCE! What was the director thinking on that one?
~ The modernizing of the show was horrible. The basketball hoop in "Rumble", Anita finding Tony's shirt, modernizing of what Officer Krupke says before the "Rumble", the "Officer Krupke" song. I thought that the changing of the "Gee Officer Krupke" song was creative and it worked but I didn't like it. The whole scene with Anita getting raped by the Jets was totally over the top and uncalled for! Why would you rape the enemy anyway? It just didn't make sense.
~ Tony jumps before he is shot. Some of the audience laughed at this. Why? I don't think Tony should jump before his death because it does look awkward and makes the audience laugh not feel saddened by what has happened.
~ There needs to be music playing for the curtain call. There's a lot of people in a cast and it takes a while for everyone to bow. There needs to be music!

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Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:48 am
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Tony Winner
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Post 
Judging on your comments, I'm going to assume that you have never seen a stage production of WSS ever, be it Broadway or in your community, etc.
Keep in mind that this is how the show is done. It came BEFORE the movie. So if you are wondering why some things are different from the movie, it's because this came first, and that's how it is. Any change in the movie they made specifically for it, they didn't just change the show from the movie for the revival. It sounds complicated but I hop it makes sense...

Just some comments....

Quote:
~ The changing around of the storyline from the movie version of West Side Story. It didn't make sense that the Jets were celebrating after Riff had just died. "Gee, Officer Krupke" goes better in Act I than in Act II.

Again, Krupke belongs in the second act in the stage version of West Side. No change in the storyline was made.

Quote:
~ Matthew Hydzik, who played Tony, had good vocals but didn't fit Tony's character as the same race as the Sharks. He was just a white guy going around and playing Tony. Most of the casting for this production was disappointing. I expected better on Broadway.

Tony shouldn't have fit the same race as the sharks because he is a jet!!! And he is supposed to be a white guy.... Thus the main conflict in the show when he, an American, falls in love with Maria, a Puerto Rican.

Quote:
~ Also, to bring back the Shark guys in that scene. It worked well with just the Shark girls but "America" is the Shark's song and "Jet Song" is the Jet's.

"America" was originally just Anita and the Shark Girls in the show, and they put the shark guys in (along with some new lyrics) in for the movie because they didn't do much. America is the ladies song.

Quote:
~ There needs to be music playing for the curtain call. There's a lot of people in a cast and it takes a while for everyone to bow. There needs to be music!

There isn't supposed to be any to keep a somber feel after the sad ending in the show.

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Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:37 am
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Yes, I have never seen the stage version of West Side Story until seeing the revival on Broadway. The movie just makes more sense in the order and storyline than the stage version. Also, I didn't mean to say that Tony was a Shark because he's not. He's a Jet. It slipped as I was typing a long post. What I was trying to say is that a different character would have been better cast than the one that they used in the performance that I saw. Overall I'm just trying to say that I didn't like the revival of West Side Story. Maybe I would have more appreciation for it if I saw the original stage version done but I don't know. The modernization in the revival made it very unenjoyable.

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Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:02 pm
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Fresh Face
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Post Re: West Side Story Revival Review
Hi--

As a devout fan of the film version of West Side Story who's also seen several very good stage productions of the original Broadway stage production, I, too saw the more up-to-date Broadway stage revival of the musical West Side Story four years ago. West Side Story being West Side Story, I largely enjoyed it, but, unlike my then 8-year-old niece and my sister-in-law, both of who I took to see it here in Boston, I viewed this particular stage production of West Side Story with a harder, more critical eye than either my niece or sister-in-law, because there were certain things that I really didn't like about this production, either.

First, the young woman who played Maria in this production of WSS had a voice that was far too shrill.

Secondly, the fact that the Jet gang whistles and the finger-snapping were taken out of this production bothered me, because the Jet gang whistles and the finger-snapping were a very, very integral part of the story

Thirdly, the vibratos of the singing voice of the guy who played Tony were so slow and wide that one could practically skip-rope through them, if one gets the drift.

Fourth: The fact that the part in the end where the Jets and Sharks finally reconcile and unite together was taken out bothers me no end, because the possibility of intergroup reconciliation as difficult as it often is, which was an important part of the very message of the story behind West Side Story, if one gets the drift.

Fifth: The fact that this promotion was overly emoted, and pretty much screamed at the audience the whole time was rather bothersome, as well.

Sixth: The white shoes, and the costumes, generally, seemed out of place, imho. Both the Jets and the Sharks, imho, looked like a bunch of suburban kids who were dressed to the nines for a night of partying out on the town than a couple of rough-tough street gangs. The Sharks and & Jets in the film version of West Side Story looked way rougher and tougher than the Jets and Sharks in the more up-to-date Broadway stage production of West Side Story.

Seventh: The idea of having Tony and Maria actively simulating sexual intercourse while sleeping was kind of out of line, especially because there were many kids who looked to be 12 years old and under at the matinee that I, my sister-in-law, and my then 8-year-old niece attended.

Eighth: The idea of having the Sharks and their girls singing and dialoguing in Spanish was interesting on the face of it, but I think it was a little bit out of place.

Ninth: Having the little kid singing "Somewhere" also seemed out of place, as was the idea of having Maria do a sort of a "Dirty Harry" act with the gun, just simply didn't jive. it totally did not belong in this play, at all.

On a more positive note, however, Karen Olivio, the woman who played Anita, was excellent, and she had a good singing voice, as well.

I enjoyed the dancing of the Jets and Sharks, as well, but I still couldn't get over the idea of the finger-snapping and the Jet gang whistles being taken out, since they were such an integral part of the story.


Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:45 pm
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