West Side Story Rumbles into Vancouver


West Side Story is a contemporary tale of Romeo and Juliet set on the streets of 1950 New York City. Star crossed lovers, Tony (Jarrad Biron Green) and Maria (MaryJoanna Grisso), are caught in a turf war between two rival street gangs: the Polish-American Jets lead by Tony's best friend, Riff (Benjiman Dallas Redding) and the Puerto Rican Sharks, lead by Maria's brother, Bernardo (Michael Spencer Smith).
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Kudos to the choreographer, Joey McKneely; managing so many people on the stage all at once must be a tough job. It was entertaining to watch the dancing in addition to the singing. Tony and Maria's duets were amazing especially their iconic song "Tonight". Both singers voices were powerful and clear and the beautiful way their voices intertwined made your heart pine for their romance. The upbeat song "America" sung by Anita (Michelle Alves), Rosalia (Gabriela Albo) and the Shark girls was one of my favorites, as well as the lighthearted "I Feel Pretty" performed by Mary, Rosalia, Consuela and Feranda. It was a nice break from the overwhelming tension between the men.

This musical is definitely not for kids. It's dark and gritter and deals with mature themes but it does send out a good message that is as applicable today as it was more than 50 years ago when the show first came out on Broadway theatre. It is a timeless classic about how hate and discrimination always ends badly and how in the end we are all just people no matter where we come from.

West Side Story is now playing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, now thru Feb 9th, 2014. Please visit Broadway Across Canada's website for more information. Or visit Ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets.

Disclosure: Tickets to the show were received from Broadway Across Canada free of charge. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own and have not been influenced in any other way.

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