Tuesday September 6, 2011 / 7:30pmWest Side Story
Front to Mid Tier 1
How was your experience?
The only good thing about this production was the dancing (it used the original ground-breaking choreography) and the original, breath-taking musical score, well performed by the pit orchestra. Though Maria and Tony had vocal range, their musical-theatre voices didn't have the lyrical, melodic quality required for this operatic, most melodic of all musicals. The innocent, loving Maria was turned into an angry, strident cynic, whose suggestive moves and innuendo spoke more tramp than virgin. Nobody would change their lives for the better for the love of this new Maria, who lost her innocence long before she went to bed with Tony. Is the director so hard up for creative ideas that he chose to show the boys masturbating and throwing the results to show disrespect? It seems this production focused on vulgarity and "getting even", losing sight of the point of this musical - transcending love and hope that overcame the hate and ugliness. What an expensive disappointment. See the movie, it is much better, and you can bring your kids. Apparently "updating the production" meant politicizing it and having entire segments of dialogue, and worse--lyrics--in Spanish. So now, we need to learn Spanish to see an American musical in the United States? Having lived abroad, I can assure you that other countries expect those who move there to learn their national language. Why is it implied that it is wrong or disrespectful to do the same in this country? This American musical was written in English, our national language, including the lyrics. And I say this as an immigrant myself. Look at the audience it plays to – English-speaking Americans. These are the people that buy tickets and fill your auditoriums. If producers want to play to Spanish-speaking audiences, then put the entire musical into Spanish (or Chinese or whatever) and export it to these audiences. Instead, you expect English-speaking audiences to pay to fill seats and then present an American musical in another language so the producers can feel good about being "politically correct" and stick the English-speaking Americans with the bill.