WEST SIDE STORY (2019 Revival) Preview Thread

SouthernCakes
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WSS 2019/20#626
Posted: 1/12/20 at 9:23pm
I’ve yet to see a WSS that was across the board well-acted. They tend to hire dancers - no shade.
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TotallyEffed
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WSS 2019/20#627
Posted: 1/13/20 at 8:54am

persephone88 said: "I saw it earlier in the run and was not a fan of Okonedo's Elizabeth Proctor. But I still remember Saoirse Roman's Abigail staring down Mary Warren in the courtroom scene looking absolutely terrifying without saying a word. That was a very mixed production but it had some really good moments. Just not the flippin' wolf!"

I also saw it earlier in the run and Okonedo gave one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen in one of the worst productions I’ve ever seen.

I’ve seen many of his productions, some were torture to get through and some were more enjoyable. They are almost always baffling in some way, with the exception of Lazarus. His style of directing actually made sense with that bizarre and surreal piece.

Hamilfan2
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WSS 2019/20#628
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:19am
Anyone know when Isaac Powell is scheduled to return?
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Ado Annie D'Ysquith
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WSS 2019/20#629
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:24am

I'm not even sure Isaac himself knows...

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ACL2006
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#630
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:26am

it's odd that the show's website has removed Ben Cook but still lists Dharon Jones as Action.

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
copathetiic
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#631
Posted: 1/13/20 at 11:35am

ACL2006 said: "it's odd that the show's website has removed Ben Cook but still lists Dharon Jones as Action."

My guess is that he hasn’t taken over the role yet. He probably needed time to rehearse and the production probably needed time to fix the video as well. 

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#632
Posted: 1/14/20 at 12:10pm

Caught it again last night Dharon is indeed still playing Action, with Ahmad Simmons playing Riff. It's been said before but I agree Dharon will make a great Riff and it's almost a shame to lose him as Action.

Didn't count but at least a handful out last night, including Isaac and Ben Cook. Printout of cats list in the program in lieu of understudy slips, which I imagine is easier with all the fluctuation.

Compared to first preview, not a ton of changes in previews so far. A lot of tightening up over-all. Pacing is now pretty great and the dance numbers land much more powerfully. Huge ovation after America, for instance.

Some things I noticed might be new, or I simply missed before.

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

There are now projections saying, "Day One" or "10 Minutes Later." Not sure when they were added, but they weren't there first preview.

At Dance at the Gym, Sharks and Jets are lit with blue and red light separately. I don't recall that first preview. And the distinction helps because although the new choreography is fantastic, it doesn't do as good of a job distinguishing the groups (especially since the original was by two different people).

Also, the projections now with out of focus during numbers, presumably when they want to shift attention to the performers on stage.

It's kinda wild this still has, what, 6 weeks of previews left? It's settling into fine shape and aside from a rotating cast and performances settling in, it's not changing too much.

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soulgrrl
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#633
Posted: 1/14/20 at 12:38pm
Just randomly bumped into the glorious Isaac Powell walking down the street in Harlem. He was looking in fine form. I asked him if his injury was healing up & if he would be returning to the show soon - and he said yes on both counts. He wasn’t on crutches and I saw no noticeable limp or support brace. Very charming young man. Glad to hear his injury hasn’t sidelined him for the long term.
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#634
Posted: 1/14/20 at 12:55pm

BJR said: "Caught it again last night Dharon is indeed still playing Action, with Ahmad Simmons playing Riff. It's been said before but I agree Dharon will make a great Riff and it's almost a shame to lose him as Action.

Didn't count but at least a handful out last night, including Isaac and Ben Cook. Printout of cats list in the program in lieu of understudy slips, which I imagine is easier with all the fluctuation.

Compared to first preview, not a ton of changes in previews so far. A lot of tightening up over-all. Pacing is now pretty great and the dance numbers land much more powerfully. Huge ovation after America, for instance.

Some things I noticed might be new, or I simply missed before.

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content
There are now projections saying, "Day One" or "10 Minutes Later." Not sure when they were added, but they weren't there first preview.

At Dance at the Gym, Sharks and Jets are lit with blue and red light separately. I don't recall that first preview. And the distinction helps because although the new choreography is fantastic, it doesn't do as good of a job distinguishing the groups (especially since the original was by two different people).

Also, the projections now with out of focus during numbers, presumably when they want to shift attention to the performers on stage.

It's kinda wild this still has, what, 6 weeks of previews left? It's settling into fine shape and aside from a rotating cast and performances settling in, it's not changing too much."
 

**PRODUCTION SPOILERS, i guess**

The red/blue lighting during the gym sequence was present during the first preview. I remember thinking it was one of the rare instances of colorful lighting in a Van Hove show. I also seem to recall there being projections with “day 1” etc. though maybe they’ve changed them around somewhat? 
 

I like the idea of putting the video out of focus to direct attention to the stage. That sounds like a really smart trick.

 

Glad to hear the pacing is settling in well. 

SisterGeorge
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#635
Posted: 1/14/20 at 1:09pm

BJR said: "It's kinda wild this still has, what, 6 weeks of previews left? It's settling into fine shape and aside from a rotating cast and performances settling in, it's not changing too much."

Those day and time projections were in at least by Jan. 3, when I saw it.

And I'm so glad to hear that last week, when most shows traditionally take a tumble, its was SRO and taking in over 1 mil. I'm hoping this show has a huge and healthy (well maybe that's not the most appropriate word) so that I can see it a few more times.

 

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Robbie2
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#636
Posted: 1/14/20 at 8:30pm

soulgrrl said: "Just randomly bumped into the glorious Isaac Powell walking down the street in Harlem. He was looking in fine form. I asked him if his injury was healing up & if he would be returning to the show soon - and he said yes on both counts. He wasn’t on crutches and I saw no noticeable limp or support brace. Very charming young man. Glad to hear his injury hasn’t sidelined him for the long term."

yup...hearing by the end of the month giving him 3 full weeks b4 opening

"Anything you do, let it it come from you--then it will be new." Sunday in the Park with George
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Bettyboy72
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#637
Posted: 1/14/20 at 9:32pm
Did Isaac delete his Instagram account? It seems to be gone. I think he’s going to be a huge star.
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello
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#638
Posted: 1/14/20 at 9:41pm

soulgrrl said: "Just randomly bumped into the glorious Isaac Powell walking down the street in Harlem. He was looking in fine form. I asked him if his injury was healing up & if he would be returning to the show soon - and he said yes on both counts. He wasn’t on crutches and I saw no noticeable limp or support brace. Very charming young man. Glad to hear his injury hasn’t sidelined him for the long term."

So happy to hear this - he is truly a sensational Tony. I caught the show for a second time this weekend, and loved it just as much as I did the first time. This production is just beyond thrilling.

"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
Hank3
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#639
Posted: 1/14/20 at 10:54pm

"It's settling into fine shape and aside from a rotating cast and performances settling in, it's not changing too much."

So much for Roger Friedman's baseless and mean-spirited gossip. If any of his reporting about Sergio Trujillo replacing Keersmacker's choreography with the Robbins, or restoring "I Feel Pretty" or the "Somewhere" ballet was true, they would have begun implementing changes by now. His credibility (if he ever had any) is completely shot.

Updated On: 1/15/20 at 10:54 PM
gibsons2
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#640
Posted: 1/14/20 at 11:10pm

soulgrrl said: "Just randomly bumped into the glorious Isaac Powell walking down the street in Harlem. He was looking in fine form. I asked him if his injury was healing up & if he would be returning to the show soon - and he said yes on both counts. He wasn’t on crutches and I saw no noticeable limp or support brace. Very charming young man. Glad to hear his injury hasn’t sidelined him for the long term. "

Great news. Maybe I'll be lucky and he's back by 29th when I'm seeing the show! Otherwise,  I will just have to come back. 

DCNY
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#641
Posted: 1/16/20 at 6:29am

Saw the 1/14 show and am negative about it. I didn’t connect with any of it emotionally. Other commenters have made interesting points about WSS casting generally needing to prioritize dancing above acting and this director focusing more on his non-colorful vision than acting. An earlier assessment of it being on the level of the acting being at a good but not great student level rang true to me.
 

Choosing broadcasting to a massive HD screen was a bold choice and allowed for the usage of the entire stage for sweeping dancing, or at least running around and rolling on the floor in large circles. I missed sets and feeling like I was in an alley or on a balcony. The two sets they do have are buried in the back behind/inside of the screen. I thought the tv shots were most effective when live broadcasting facial and dance closeups though it was also distracting, both the screen and the camera people. Disliked the pre-filmed background movements. The streetscapes move slowly and go on too long and show loading docks and scaffolding that feel like the mystery commercial areas of today’s far Midtown West or west of Lincoln Center instead of helping me feel I was in any sort of residential area. The shots could be much more compelling. The Puerto Rico b-roll during America was obvious, hurricanes blowing, boats you can get on and all. Officer Krupke clips were cheap; he’s wearing a Halloween-grade uniform and sporting a badge that says “special police” when most TV shows and movies are able to use realistic NYPD regalia. I would rather they used the money spent on the screen and video production, rain, and massive advertising budget that constantly blitzes the NYT with full page ad over full page ad, on sets and more interesting shots.

Jordan Dobson on as u/s Tony had a nice voice and performance. As u/s Riff, Ahmad Simmons was not fantastic.

Because my familiarity is with the film, the stage production threw me off a bit and I don’t know how much is because the order and other parts of the play differ from the film and how much is because this production differed from its original staging. The modern time setting feels a bit rocky too. A gang leader calling people “buddy boy.” A mixed-race gang in modern-day New York hating Puerto Ricans. Street gangs fighting for turf on the West Side is today’s Manhattan. Could overlook that stuff if more of the rest worked for me.

I can see the show being poorly reviewed, though the house was of course full and enthusiastic.

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#642
Posted: 1/16/20 at 11:25am

DCNY said: "I can see the show being poorly reviewed, though the house was of course full and enthusiastic."

This is something that actually surprised me. At first preview, there were clearly many like me that wanted to see what Ivo had done with West Side, but I wondered if those there to see West Side and not Ivo's work would feel the same.

When I went a few days ago, my extremely informal study was bringing a guest whose taste is far less adventurous than mine and very familiar with and fond of the film. In addition to the crowd going nuts after America (even with new choreo), I was surprised how much my guest loved it.

Makes me think the grosses could continue. But surely, reviews could hurt or help it.

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#643
Posted: 1/16/20 at 6:29pm
Isaac was at rehearsals today per Gabi Campo’s Instagram story. Hopefully that means he's returning soon. Worth mentioning the slit in his eyebrow, he does for Tony looks freshly touched up but I'm probably looking into it too much.
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#644
Posted: 1/16/20 at 6:45pm

Ok so my mom really wants to see this. However as you might know she has very old fashioned conservative tastes. She loved the revivals of Hello Dolly!, Kiss Me Kate and Carousel. It sounds as if this is avante-garde but not as avante garde as the Daniel Fish Oklahoma! Is there anything that would make this unacceptable as a momsical?

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#645
Posted: 1/16/20 at 7:18pm

Content-wise, I can’t think of anything that would offend mom. Ivo van Hove hasn’t added lyrics or new dialogue; he has mainly cut a couple songs and added his own style. It’s not like he’s got them dancing in the nude or anything. Without changing lyrics or dialogue, “Officer Krupke” is definitely meant to be anti-police cruelty now. I thought it was genius. So unless the constant use of both live and pre-recorded video, the cutting of “I Feel Pretty” and the ballet, plus the new choreography and the one gang now comprised of both white and black gang members, plus any of the above would offend her, I say take her. I found it overall thrilling.

Of course, I never realized how much cussing or sexual references that were in something until I sat there watching it with my parents. I took them to see Jersey Boys because everyone told me that they would love the music and in fact they did but they complained much louder about the liberal use of the F word. And for some reason, one Christmas I brought home Jerry McGuire home on VHS to watch with my parents one evening. I’d seen if before, but the sex scenes never registered for me before. I was horrified when my dad had to explain to my mom what “pootie” was. I coulda died. If I could’ve faded into the sofa, I would have. Lol

Updated On: 1/16/20 at 07:18 PM
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#646
Posted: 1/16/20 at 7:25pm

My mom is definitely on the conservative side (although NOT politically). I'm thinking this is a go for her. Although she didn't like the drag dancers in My Fair Lady. She said "this isn't the musical for drag dancers." 

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#647
Posted: 1/17/20 at 2:40pm

I saw this production a few days ago. While I feel quite mixed about it, I would still take it over any "traditional" production of WSS. As many have mentioned, it's brutal, bleak, harrowing, searing, and cinematic (probably a bit too cinematic). The projection is used very effectively in many scenes, yet in many other scenes I got the feeling that Ivo Van Hove intended to make a movie version of WSS but Spielberg got the rights. I think one of the major challenges the performers have to face is, besides the raw, intense choreography, how to switch between stage acting and screen acting seamlessly. I think some did pretty well, yet when some weren't so used to the switch of acting modes, it showed, especially on the screen. They do need this long preview period to settle in their roles since it's already half way through it.

If you have motion sickness, I would recommend you take precaution before seeing the show. It caught me a bit when the background started to move, but I got used to it eventually. 

Also, if you can be easily triggered by rather graphic depiction of sexual assault or people being shot in the head (they prerecorded it in slow motion and even shows you the wound) on a big screen, you might reconsider whether you should see the show or not.

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#648
Posted: 1/17/20 at 4:53pm

poisonivy2 said: "My mom is definitely on the conservative side (although NOT politically). I'm thinking this is a go for her. Although she didn't like the drag dancers in My Fair Lady. She said "this isn't the musical for drag dancers."

If she didn't care for that small of a change, I doubt she will like a bleak interpretation with no set of a classic show like West Side Story. 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-the-light-a-faustian-tale-concept-recording#/
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#649
Posted: 1/17/20 at 4:59pm
https://www.instagram.com/p/B7b8kD5h_Cj/?igshid=1mfqnifz8gzfd

Powell is back in the show as of tonight.
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#650
Posted: 1/17/20 at 5:03pm

ModernMillie3 said: "poisonivy2 said: "My mom is definitely on the conservative side (although NOT politically). I'm thinking this is a go for her. Although she didn't like the drag dancers in My Fair Lady. She said "this isn't the musical for drag dancers."

If she didn't care for that small of a change, I doubt she will like a bleak interpretation with no set of a classic show like West Side Story.
"

We all know that you never miss an opportunity to badmouth a show you haven't seen, millie --- but just FYI there IS a set -- but much of it is upstage or seen via projections.  There's a reason why projection designers are Tony eligible in the scenic design categories.




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