One of Broadway’s greatest love stories, West Side Story is one of the two musicals staged in this year’s Theatre Under the Stars at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park running until August 20, 2016.
Directed by Sarah Rodgers, with TUTS alumnus Chris D. King as Musical Director, TUTS has brought to stage a tougher, grittier version of this musical to stage this year. I had the opportunity to watch this musical on a nice beautiful Friday evening, and although I have never finished watching from start to finish any version of West Side Story, I was pleasantly surprised at how contemporary the topics are for a 1950s musical based on the story of Romeo & Juliet. Interracial relationships, gang violence, poverty, immigration and racism are all touched upon in this musical. For those with young children, this musical may not be the most children-friendly. Perhaps consider the alternative musical produced during this summer, Beauty & The Beast. However, for teens and adults, this musical has it all! Violence, romance, comedy and drama!
I really enjoyed the musical numbers – classic numbers such as I’m So Pretty, Tonight Tonight, and Maria were brought to stage by an talented cast of singers and dancers. The fight choreography, by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, was quite amusing, blending dancing and fighting into the scenes featuring the Jets vs the Sharks. In particular, Jennifer Gillis and Alexandra Lainfiesta were outstanding as Maria and Anita. Their song and dance numbers were amazing, and one of my favourites for the evening was Anita’s America. Kudos to the talented cast, some TUTS alumni and some newcomers!
Without spoiling the musical, go check out West Side Story to see for yourself why Theatre Under the Stars is is so important to the Vancouver theatre scene. Enjoy an evening outdoors with a Broadway musical featuring local musical talents. West Side Story runs on alternate evenings with Beauty & The Beast, a more children-friendly musical.
For show information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.tuts.ca.