Sunday, August 7, 2011

West Side Story FAIL

Went to see West Side Story this week in Chicago (part of the Chicago on Broadway series).  Gotta say, I wasn't impressed.  I have to admit that I'm a fan of the movie (and yes, I know that Natalie Wood did not sing) but I've seen my share of plays and I knew there would be differences.  What I didn't expect was a cast that was almost universally sharp and pitchy and whoever the hell it was that played Maria couldn't muster a proper accent to save her life (or Tony's in this case).  She had kind of a pseudo humming/Russian/Puerto Rican thing going that had me cringing before she opened her mouth later in the play.

The guy who played Riff was okay as was the dude who played Bernardo.  The best one in the bunch though was the woman who played Riff's girlfriend. Go figure.  The choreography was also excellent, with the exception of the simulated ejaculation during the song 'Officer Krumke', which I felt was over the top and unecessary.

Something new for this tour was the interspersing of Spanish into the songs and dialogue when Maria and the other 'PRs' were speaking or singing.  I speak a bit of Spanish but the flipping back and forth, combined with the shrillness of the cast made it so I couldn't understand a word and completely ruined some of my favorite songs from the play.

It was nice because I attended with my mom and sister, but the play itself was not-so-much.  As a note, I am not a 'professional critic' or anything, just someone who paid good money and was disappointed.


Anonymous said...

"Simulated ejaculation"...?? o_O

Midwest Chick said...

Simulated wanking off with a happy ending.

North said...

I like WSS (I'm straight, I swear) and have seen it done well on stage as it was done with care.

Sounds like this was "clever" instead of reasonable. That is unfortunate.

Midwest Chick said...

North--exactly. They were trying so hard to be edgy and hip that they lost the plot.