Sunday, July 27, 2008

Review: West Side Story

This weekend ended up being quite full of theater. Saturday night, on my way from the pre-show party to Little Shop, I received a call ... did I want to usher for this afternoon's sold out of performance of West Side Story?

It was a wonderful way to brighten up a rainy Sunday afternoon. The show was very good and a delight to watch. The set was beautiful, more scenic artwork created by Richard Prouse. The Set, a very creative use of space was designed by Andy Weintraub. The band was sublime and the choreography and staging, by Laurie Sepe Marder, energetic and bright. The lighting at times was awfully dim and there seemed to be some issue with the spotlight keeping up with some of the solo numbers, but they were momentary distractions. The only big concern I had with the show is that in some of the numbers there were too many cast members on stage which resulted in some collisions. All the energy was wonderful to watch but the result at times was chaotic.

There were a lot of familiar faces in this show. Let me start with the ensemble in general. They were wonderful. Strong voices and bursting with energy and vitality. They looked beautiful, moved gracefully and sounded great. Of note was the solos from Laura Doe (Pauline), Jackie Schroeder (Rosalia) and Michael Torbit (Action) Also fun to watch, as always, was Joe Felece and Fred Fishberg as Shrank and Krupke.

I loved Tony, played by Matthew Farcher, he did a amazing job with the role. Amazing. Victoria McCarthy did an wonderful Maria, with such beautiful singing. She also pulled off a wonderful accent and applied it to her singing as well, a difficult task. Bernardo, Vinny Lomoriello, was always fun to watch on stage. Christopher Tillson as Riff was very good also. Sammy Curbelo as Baby John made me chuckle on numerous occasions. Another one that made me laugh was Tony Dirusso as Glad Hand. Anita, Risa Petrone, was breathtaking both vocally and as she danced. Lindsay Michaels stole a number of scenes in the role of Anybodys. It was a perfect fit for her, and she made the most of it.

Up in One Productions West Side Story is a delight and will be running for another three weekends. I encourage you to go see this delightful musical that I'm certain will be another summer sellout!

otos courtesy of Jen Kiaba Photography

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