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29 July 2011, 2:00 pm No Comments

Cinespastic: West Side Story

This post was submitted by Ben K.

I fell in love with West Side Story at an early age. My mother, who has been planning to wear a replica of Anita’s purple dress to my wedding one day (that is, if I don’t wear it) first introduced me to it. It’s not just the nostalgia I feel toward the film and music, but it’s a damn good musical. For me, West Side Story and Gypsy are the two best musicals to have come from Broadway. Of course, they both have the god of musical theater Stephen Sondheim and great stage and screen scribe Arthur Laurents in common, still in the early beginnings of their illustrious careers.

But my God, that music by Bernstein and that choreography by Robbins is unbeatable. The movie is worth viewing at any time: it won 10 Academy Awards in 1961, including Best Picture, for good reason. In November of this year, a special 50th anniversary DVD of the film will be released.

But I’m here to tell you about the amazing Broadway revival of the musical that is currently on tour throughout the country. Laurents directed this revival that opened on Broadway in 2009 and closed earlier this year with reworking of some of the lyrics and dialogue to include Spanish in scenes between the Puerto Rican Sharks.

This revival is only the second time the show has been revived on Broadway since it burst onto the stage in 1957. It is hard to believe because since it has become so popular in society, it seems as if every high school, community and regional theater has put on a production. I’m sure many have been good, but I’m telling you this is a stellar production, the kind that you must see if you’re a fan of musical theater and especially if you’re a fan of the show. To hear a full orchestra perform the music, matched with the reproduction of Robbins’ choreography by professional dancers, is not to be missed.

This production moves like lightening, not a dull or dragging moment in it. Every performance is outstanding, every moment is exciting. I’m gushing – please go see it. To see when it is coming to your city, visit www.broadwaywestsidestory.com. Until then, check out this performance from the 2009 Tony Awards of the Dance at the Gym. Mambo!

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