My review of West Side story hasn’t gone up on Alive’s website yet- when it does I’ll be sure to include the link. Maybe it’s interesting to read my blog first, and see all of my nitty-gritty thoughts (everything that I thought STUNK!) before reading the sugar-coated version. How sweet of me, it must the Valentine’s day residual effect.
Actually, I really did enjoy the show. The dancing was spectacular, which is about all I need (plus insulin, food, a roof over y noggin’, and of course, a liberal shopping allowance). And the guy playing Tony, Ross Lekites- I might be spelling that last name wrong, I don’t have y program in front of me– had the most beautiful voice. I can hear it still. Jess..i…ca.. I mean, Ma..r…ia! Also, the guy playing Action was divine- and making his musical theatre debut after a career as a principal ballet dancer. (Doesn’t say where in the program. Methinks a google stalk session is in order) I could have written an entire review as a love letter to him…dear Mr. Drake, I singled you out in y review. therefore I deserve a coffee date yes? I’d be happy to discuss your performance or our future wedding date.
There were few things that I didn’t care for;
1. and this is true of ALL west side story productions: the costumes. The Jets are slicked-back perfection. Keep those jeans, white tees and polos, tennis shoes, and James Dean hairdos. The Sharks are ok, though I wish their signature color for silky button downs didn’t see to be purple. (The color of royalty yes, but also Barney and Grape Drink, among other fruity things). I like Anita’s slutty purple dress but I don’t like the rest of the Shark girls’ dresses- I think they could be much more colorful. And I know that pencil skirts were the look for the Jet girls, but they look stupid in the Mambo in comparison to the full skirts of the shark ladies. I wish they had more bold colors.
2. Before the dance sequence for ‘somewhere’ in act 2, the stage becomes backlit which is usually nice if done in a color like reds or blues to give a cool silhouette effect. But it’s a blinding white. Retinas, be warned.
3. I like how everything in this show is clearly a musical interpretation of real life– the dance sequences don’t look for a second like a real fight, but a glorified leaping twirling rough-and-tumble. Most of the characters in their performances brought over-the-top energy, accents, and personality as well, which is fitting for the show. The guy playing Officer Krupke was perhaps a bit too realistic for me, I thought he could have delved a little deeper into the fantasy of the character. As the only one who wouldn’t be out-of-place in the real world, he was ill-fitting on stage.
4. Riff– supposed to be the brains, the gang-leader, the man with the plan for the Jets, the coooolest gang around. This guy, however, reminded me more of the dorky Ed Helms character, Andy, in the current season of the office, having somehow fallen into the manager position. I blame this actors very nasal voice for my downgrading of his ‘coolness‘. Also he was the shortest guy. But where Tony’s voice was melodic and beautiful, the rest of the Jets sounding strong and…well testosterone-ridden, his voice reminded me of a whiny gnat in my ear that I just wanted to swat.
5. The actress playing Maria– her voice seemed tired to me in the second act. In the words of Randy Jackson, American Idol critic, ‘yo dawg (or Shark) it was pretty pitchy’. I just noticed more than a few flats.
That’s really it. One of the special delights for me was the character of Glad Hand at the dance in the first act gym scene. Maybe because he was wearing a funny suit, or because he was a pale balding white guy, or because of his comic timing and role as the man trying to get all the kids to get along while kind of being the butt of the jokes (wow, that’s a description that defies word count, isn’t it!?) he reminded me so much of Dean Pelton from the NBC comedy ‘Community’. Therefore, I thought I would ask the lean, obscene, philandering Dean to offer his two cents.
Glendale goes West Side- by Dean Pelton
(this should be read in your most Dean-ish voice. To all who don’t watch community, you won’t understand the genius insight here, so I apologize)
I went to see West Side Story at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis and let me tell you, it was razzle-dazzling!
This is just what we need at my community college to further develop our fine Fine Arts Program, and to get me a leeeeetle closer to Jeff Winger. I say ‘leeeetle‘ because I’m practicing my Spanish… or Puerto Rican or Mexicana accent (where are they from again?)
And who better for the cast than our favorite Spanish study group? I’m assuming I will play the role of Maria. We all know that we at Glendale love nothing more than
Jeff/ completely trashing gently poking fun of ‘Glee’ and dream sequences and fight sequences, so the show is perfecto! We also know that I have no say what-so-ever in the happenings of this school, so the cast list is being decided by Star-Burns and the Pop-pop guy. Ooooo, it’s posted!!
Tony– the hunky leading male- Jeff Winger
Maria- the sweet innocent hussy – Annie
Anita– the fiesty, bossy, know-it-all with a heart-of-gold- Shirley
Riff– the brains of the operation- Abed
Action– the funny sidekick- Troy
Bernardo– always up for a fight- Britta
Glad Hand– Dean Pelton
Doc– the frumpy old guy- Leonard
Officer Krupke– The fallen-from-grace Spanish Senor, current Campus Police- Officer Chang
Anybodys– the annoying girl who reeeeeeaaly wants in with the boys club- Pierce
Be Cool everybody- (by clicking the LIKE button, Leaving a COMMENT, or SUBSCRIBING) – reeeeeal cool.