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Theatre Review: West Side Story



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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, January 26, 2012

(Music)

"West Side Story" is a very familiar musical - many people know the songs by heart. But the show's famous choreography - an eye-catching mix of breathtaking ballet moves and modern dance by Jerome Robbins - is something you can't entirely recreate on a smaller stage. Most local productions don't even try.

That's what makes this touring Broadway production stand out. The sheer scope of the dancing is grander than other recent productions here because the Sacramento Community Center Theater has a stage broad enough to do justice to what Robbins created in 1957. And his choreography adds a lot - if you read the original reviews from way back then, they noted that the dance gives the hot-headed gang members who populate this story a physical eloquence that their simple words lack. This point is still true, decades later.

Of course, "West Side Story" also contains Leonard Bernstein's music and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, including one of the best love songs in any musical.

("Tonight, Tonight")

Longtime fans will recognize that additional Spanish lyrics ave been woven into this revival, which is a good thing. But on the whole, this is a solid production that makes a strong argument for this evergreen's landmark virtues. If you've got an opportunity to see a show this week, I'd encourage you to see this one… and get ready for some good dancing.

(Instrumental music out , "America")

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"West Side Story" continues at the Sacramento Community Center Theater through Sunday.  Click here for more information.

And check out this NPR piece about the creation of "West Side Story" on Broadway in 1957.

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