Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Local News

June 5, 2013

Latest ‘West Side Story’ production stays true to the original

Forbidden love is a plot line that never dies.

Yet another production of “West Side Story” is currently on stage, performing through June 9 at Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis.

Based on Jerome Robbins’ original conception for the 1961 musical film directed by Robert Wise and starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the main characters, this production holds true to that famous movie. While there are plenty of standout vocal performances — notably from Tony (played by Addison Reid Coe) and Maria (Maryjoanna Grisso), it’s the choreography that’s center stage.

Both gangs depicted in the story — the white American Jets and the Puerto Rican immigrant Sharks — have plenty of tussles throughout the play, but they’re much more dance-oriented than fierce. It’s still an intricate interplay, particularly during a scene at a dance where an authority figure tries to get the sides to intermingle and put their differences aside. It’s of course where the ill-fated lovers Tony and Maria meet.

No specific performances really stood out. Lighthearted moments were sprinkled in, mainly for the Sharks to accentuate their Puerto Rican roots.

Gravitas and tension were meant for the gang interaction, particularly in the pre-arranged rumble scene. It hit home more when Anita, girlfriend of Sharks’ leader Bernando (played by Yesenia Ayala) is assaulted at the soda shop where the gangs congregate by members of the Jets.

“West Side Story” is on stage through June 9 at Clowes. Tickets may be ordered online at Indianapolis.broadway.com.

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