Once a theatre nerd, always a theatre nerd

27 Aug

Recently, I went with my family for an evening at the local amateur theatre. We have been attending shows at this company for over *cough* 30 *cough* years, so I’m not going to lie- but my brother and I are a little opinionated about shows now. In particular… the pre-show.

But that’s a post for another time. 

Today, I would like to discuss West Side Story, the production we saw at Good Company Players. First of all, while the show is undoubtedly a classic, the story is dated. At least… the dialogue is. Just as an example, the boys constantly talk about “zipguns”… do kids today even know what those are? A favorite song of mine is “Gee, Officer Krupke” wherein the Jets sing about why they are the way they are. I am willing to bet most people don’t understand the references- social disease, for one. Though that particular reference has at least a 50% chance of being recognized.

West-Side-Story-2014-l

Before I move on, I have to admit that I giggled throughout the “Overture” through no fault of anyone but myself… remember how I work in a prison? Well, as the Jets had their first dance fight with the Sharks… all I could picture was the inmates having a dance fight…

Amusing, right? Anyways…

The music holds up fairly well. It is fairly light and just lovely. I need to mention the two leads- Jordan Litz and Natalie Nielson. Both were vocally pleasing and did very well with two vocal roles that are fairly difficult. Litz’s “Tony”, for instance, easily slid into the high notes of “Maria”. Without becoming overly saccharine or painful to hear or… losing any of the strength.

I want to take a moment to talk further about Litz. As previously stated, I’ve been attending this company (and others in the area) for most of my life. For the latter half of that time there has been a distinct lack of young male leads that a) look like adults, b) are over 5’8″, and c) can carry a tune in an effortless way. There’s also d) are dreamy; but that’s not really important (even if it is true in this case). For the first time in a long time there was a tall, dark, and handsome leading man who looked like an adult. It was a very nice surprise. Personally, I hope to see more of this performer.

I could go on about the staging or dance, the set or lighting design, however I want to wrap this up with this- West Side Story may not be the most thrilling or use the most high tech special effects. It is basically a musical telling of Romeo & Juliet. But… it is still worth seeing at least once in your life. The music should be heard live, at least once, so that you can truly enjoy the crystal clear vocal performances. This production was worth the price.

Enjoy John Barrowman performing “Maria”
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vybIS4fsio]

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