Review of 2: “West Side Story”
FORT MYERS, Fla .– The cast of West Side Story ordered a crowded audience to rise to a thunderous standing ovation deserving of a dignified performance in the historic Florida Repertory Theater.
This production of the 1957 Broadway musical blows the dust off your typical evergreen series of the modern American classic.
From the start of the show in the backstreets of New York City, Curtis Holbrook’s breathtaking choreography is nothing short of overwhelming as the actors happily leap across the floor performing acrobats, dancing and songs throughout. of our fight, offering us a cross between ballet and martial arts. scenes.
Holbrook is no stranger to the show as he appeared in the Broadway revival in 2009.
The iconic performance is brilliantly directed by Kody C. Jones despite the challenge of having the largest cast in history on the Florida Rep stage using every square inch to pull off a thrilling performance.
“West Side Story” features lyrics by Stephen Sondheim to help tell this modern Romeo and Juliet love story. In this case, Tony and Maria are teenagers across the tracks from opposing gangs until they fall in love and face a deep rivalry that threatens to pull them apart.
Actor Zach Schanne delivers a convincing Tony with his rich tenor voice who delivers his great performances as Maria. It pairs well with established actress Rebbeklah Vega-Romero as Maria in their stunning balcony scene and throughout. Her beautiful soprano voice is a crowd pleaser and I loved her performance of I Feel Pretty.
Schanne and Vega-Romero aren’t the only New York-based professional actors to host the series. Also included are Diego Guevara as a member of the Bernardo gang, Michael Marotta as Doc, Maria Cristina Posada Slye who beautifully plays the role of Maria’s confidante Anita.
Members of the Florida Rep. Ensemble include David Breitbarth as Officer Krupke and William McNult as Lieutenant Schrank.
These cast members along with the talented company of interim interns and students of the Conservatory were dumped together to combine a thrilling performance that hits all the right notes and emotions.
Hats off to Director of Education Kody C. Jones for making his professional debut with this masterpiece.
If you’ve seen the classic, I urge you to see this bolder and perhaps rawer version rather than the sweet spectacle we’ve grown used to.
Overall, the production delivers a great message and uses a lot of emotion from a more than talented group of artists whose combined efforts bring it brilliantly to life.
“West Side Story” is playing in the historic Arcade Theater until December 15th.
Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at (239) 332-4488.