WEST SIDE STORY (2019 Revival) Preview Thread

JSquared2
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#676
Posted: 1/20/20 at 5:13pm

kuhset said: "Can someone clarify what she means by "despite union rules"?



This girl (who is a Broadway dancer)  not only does not understand what a sexual predator is --- she doesn't even understand how her own union works.  The AEA Production Contract allows for either the Actor or the Producer to terminate a Term contract with one weeks' notice if the Actor misses (or will miss) 16 or more consecutive performances due to illness or injury.

copathetiic
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#677
Posted: 1/20/20 at 10:49pm
Does anyone know what actually happened to Ben Cook and how he hurt himself? There have been pictures posted of him and he looks fine (no visible braces or casts). I just figured if it was bad enough to take him out of the show it must be a pretty serious injury.
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poisonivy2
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#678
Posted: 1/20/20 at 11:22pm

Idk but five months ago I tore three ligaments in my ankle and broke a bone in my foot. I only wore an orthopedic boot for two months and then an ankle brace. Yet I’m still in physical therapy and could never do any intensive exercise. Injuries don’t always need a big cast or crutches to be real serious.

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TotallyEffed
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#679
Posted: 1/21/20 at 5:01pm

I just saw a casting notice for "rebellious teens in a street gang" and police officers. I can't imagine it's for anything else besides West Side Story?

"We're casting film to be projected onto a 70ft screen as part of a major Broadway show by world-renowned Tony-winning director and Academy Award winning producer. We're looking to cast several teenager and adult roles, please submit ASAP!"

jonah3500
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West Side Story#680
Posted: 1/21/20 at 5:03pm
Do you have a picture or link?
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BJR
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West Side Story#681
Posted: 1/21/20 at 5:52pm

TotallyEffed said: "I just saw a casting notice for "rebellious teens in a street gang" and police officers. I can't imagine it's for anything else besides West Side Story?

"We're casting film to be projected onto a 70ft screen as part of a major Broadway show by world-renowned Tony-winning director and Academy Award winning producer. We're looking to cast several teenager and adult roles, please submit ASAP!"
"

I wonder if these are new sequences or, likely, reshoots. And I wonder if they're featuring actors who aren't in the cast to not have to make changes when there's cast changes. When I went last week, Ben Cook had been edited out of Cool already and they re-shot Tony running for Isaac's extended absence.

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joevitus
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West Side Story#682
Posted: 1/22/20 at 12:40am

I had thought all the screen action was live footage of the performance in progress.

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ColorTheHours048
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West Side Story#683
Posted: 1/22/20 at 2:28am

joevitus said: "I had thought all the screen action was live footage of the performance in progress."

There are some pre-filmed segments that play behind scenes onstage, some live close-ups during some scenes like Dance at the Gym and the Rumble, and then live scenes filmed offstage/in the Doc’s store and dress shop sets built into the back of the stage. So it’s a mix of pre-filmed and live, but all the book scenes that happen on film happen live.

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QueenAlice
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West Side Story#684
Posted: 1/22/20 at 3:09pm

A sensational read on the new WEST SIDE STORY in the New York Times. It answers the question, among other things that Sergio Trujillo was brought in - not to reinstate Robbin's choreography but to help (along with Patricia Delgado) DeKeersmaeker incorporate more authentically Latino movements into the Shark's dance vocabulary.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/magazine/west-side-story.html

I got to see the production last week and am among those that thought it was mostly thrilling. It is raw and fresh and visceral; I hope Spielberg's film adaptation doesn't come across as a quaint museum piece after this.  I predict the reviews will largely be very favorable.

“I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then.”
Globefan
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West Side Story#685
Posted: 1/22/20 at 5:09pm

QueenAlice said: "A sensational read on the new WEST SIDE STORY in the New York Times. It answers the question, among other things that Sergio Trujillo was brought in - not to reinstate Robbin's choreography but to help (along with Patricia Delgado) DeKeersmaeker incorporate more authentically Latino movements into the Shark's dance vocabulary.



https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/magazine/west-side-story.html

I got tosee the production last week and amamong those that thought it was mostly thrilling. It is raw and fresh and visceral; I hope Spielberg's film adaptation doesn't come across as a quaint museum piece after this. I predict the reviews will largely be very favorable.
"

Spielberg's film is gonna be great. 

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ColorTheHours048
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West Side Story#686
Posted: 1/22/20 at 5:15pm

QueenAlice said: "A sensational read on the new WEST SIDE STORY in the New York Times. It answers the question, among other things that Sergio Trujillo was brought in - not to reinstate Robbin's choreography but to help (along with Patricia Delgado) DeKeersmaeker incorporate more authentically Latino movements into the Shark's dance vocabulary.



https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/magazine/west-side-story.html

I got tosee the production last week and amamong those that thought it was mostly thrilling. It is raw and fresh and visceral; I hope Spielberg's film adaptation doesn't come across as a quaint museum piece after this. I predict the reviews will largely be very favorable.
"

Thanks for posting that article! A great read, and very insightful into the process/development behind this production. I’m hoping the critical response will be positive to this. Most of the people I know who’ve seen it have loved it (myself included; seeing it again with my husband in 2 weeks), with a small percentage strongly disliking it.

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broadway86
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West Side Story#687
Posted: 1/23/20 at 12:20pm

I had no interest in seeing this, but the preview feedback here and the NYT article have convinced me. Seeing it the night before opening!

Updated On: 1/23/20 at 12:20 PM
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joevitus
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West Side Story#688
Posted: 1/23/20 at 1:53pm

ColorTheHours048 said: "joevitus said: "I had thought all the screen action was live footage of the performance in progress."

There are some pre-filmed segments that play behind scenes onstage, some live close-ups during some scenes like Dance at the Gym and the Rumble, and then live scenes filmed offstage/in the Doc’s store and dress shop sets built into the back of the stage. So it’s a mix of pre-filmed and live, but all the book scenes that happen on filmhappen live.
"

Thanks!

KatieQuick
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West Side Story#689
Posted: 1/24/20 at 4:23pm
I have a rear mezzanine ticket for tonight 1/24’s 8 pm show. $45. Not sure what the exact seat is as they tell you when you pickup - I have it on TodayTix and can change the pickup name. Let me know!
djoko84
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West Side Story#690
Posted: 1/24/20 at 11:54pm

I saw this last night and thought the show was terrible. I'm a huge Ivo van Hove fan, but the changes he made really didn't fit the show. 

cfbrrr
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West Side Story#691
Posted: 1/26/20 at 12:22pm
A few things about the cutting of “I Feel Pretty” and the “Somewhere Ballet” that I don’t believe have been mentioned.

First of all, many, perhaps most, people tend to envision/remember “West Side Story” from the 1961 movie rather than via the 1957 original Broadway version — a significant issue given that many things were changed/adapted for the movie, a number of which were attributable to neither Bernstein nor Laurents nor the demoted-as-director Robbins.

In the original, “I Feel Pretty” comes right at the top of Act 2, which is hugely significant because the “Rumble” (not the “Tonight Quintet,” as is often assumed) ends Act 1. And the “Rumble,” of course, is where Tony kills Bernardo, Maria’s brother (who is also her best friend Anita’s lover), right after Bernardo has killed Riff.

The essential point is that when Maria, in the original version, sings “I Feel Pretty,” directly following a tension-breaking intermission, she is *totally unaware* that Tony has just killed her brother, resulting in dramatic irony of the most poignant kind. Though the audience knows what’s up, Maria is still able to bubble with glee over her newfound guy as if everything were right in the world and forever would be. On one level, it’s so deliriously joyful. Yet underneath, it’s so very, very sad. Great writing. Great psychological pacing. (In the movie, “I Feel Pretty” comes rather more daintily in advance of any dead bodies being strewn across the stage.)

And though Mr. Sondheim has for decades loudly voiced his displeasure over what he regards as his unsuitable lyrics for the song (I don’t agree; I cherish them, and remember how much, as a kid, I loved the line “Miss America can just resign”), he was the juniorest member, by far, of the quartet of creators of the show, and I seriously doubt whether any of the other three would have “not minded the loss of the song” in the current revival.

”I Feel Pretty” is musically brilliant, with a snappy Hispanic rhythm useful to the show, and a terrific middle section, starting, via the women’s ensemble, in minor mode, leading, with nifty key-changes and inspired text-settings (“this is nót the Má-ri-a wé know,” e.g.) to the final section, with its great and quirky “which, what, where, whom?” interjections and its rousing conclusion. Not only is it Maria’s only solo song [!], its setting with female-ensemble back-up is the original show’s only all-female ensemble number except for “America,” which, as in the movie, has been made into a multi-gender affair in the current revival. (Yet there is much all-maleness that remains . . .)

Thus, “I Feel Pretty” has gone from genius placement (original) to tepid placement (movie) to no placement (van Hove).

As for the “Somewhere Ballet,” let me just state that in the 1989 “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” which won the Tony for Best Musical that year, the concluding and climactic set of numbers ending the first act was a suite of dances from “West Side Story,” with the final number of that concluding segment — everything was chosen by Robbins himself — being not one of the flashy, jazzy, energetic numbers, as you might expect, but rather the “Somewhere Ballet,” so touching and so gorgeous in both music and choreography that it brought tears to my eyes on what was a most memorable (and long!) night in 1989. It’s super-obvious how much that number meant to the now-not-able-to-defend-himself Robbins.

In the current revival, not only is there no “Somewhere Ballet,” but the song itself — entrusted on Bernstein’s recordings to no less that Reri Grist and Marilyn Horne — is initiated/dominated by Tony, with him already having had tons of solo opportunities, thereby diminishing any sense of Maria’s parity yet further. A questionable holdover from the movie is worsened by Maria’s now seeming less significant — less eligible even — in Mr. van Hove’s world.

Say all you want about these these two cut numbers not fitting into the revival’s “concept.” I counter that any “West Side Story” that — jettisoning Robbins’ Prologue choreography, perhaps the most important and iconic piece of choreography in The Entirety of the American Musical Theater, in favor of having the rival gangs merely, at the outset, emit “meaningful” stares (their menacing finger-snaps that are *part of the actual printed score* having been summarily junked) — is already dead in the water, with or without superfluous rain.

That there needs to be, or even should be, “modernized” versions of classic shows to render them relevant or even palatable to contemporary audiences is a highly debatable notion — especially when, if then canonized on Broadway and accompanied by commercial recordings/video representations, they come to be accepted by/revealed to large swaths of the public as *the show itself*. Artistic license can be destructive as well as liberating — in the long as well as short term. Murder can result from both a bullet and a virus.
Hank3
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West Side Story#692
Posted: 1/26/20 at 3:40pm

cfbrrr said: "That there needs to be, or even should be, “modernized” versions of classic shows to render them relevant or even palatable to contemporary audiences is a highly debatable notion...Murder can result from both a bullet and a virus."

You make many very astute observations in your post, especially the context of "I Feel Pretty" in the original production, the intent of the creators, and its impact on the storytelling. 

But I can't agree with your reservation about this drastic re-envisioning a beloved classic. There have been five previous Broadway productions of "West Side Story" (which were faithful to the text, score and choreography), and probably thousands of productions in regional, community theatre and school settings. And while a few of the latter have undoubtedly taken some liberties (in breach of their contractural agreement with MTI. by the way), I suspect that none have as broadly re-conceived the show as van Hove's production. So if you're at all interested in musical theatre, most Americans have had an opportunity to see a production of the show that was relatively true to the creators' original intent. I believe I've seen five previous productions, all of which followed the original blueprint.

I would argue that van Hove's production doesn't harm the property. The original script, score and choreography are still what Music Theatre International will license for future productions, and there will probably be future Broadway productions of the show that are faithful to the creators' original intent. But I think there's absolutely room for a production that investigates the piece in such a radically different way as van Hove's production.

I saw this "West Side Story" almost six weeks ago, very early in previews, and I had mixed feelings. There were things that weren't entirely successful for me, some of which I hope they'll address throughout their extended preview period. But the power of van Hove's vision absolutely grabbed me, and ultimately I found it deeply moving and thought provoking. I haven't been able to let it go, in a good way. And while I'm sure there were those in the audience who had problems with the production, the overwhelming majority of the audience was extremely enthusiastic.

I've seen nine Ivo van Hove directed pieces through the years, and most of them productions of properties that I was already very familiar with. Like his "West Side Story," they haven't all been entirely successful for me. But he has never failed to make me look at a work in new ways, hear it with fresh ears, think about it in relation to our world in ways I hadn't previously considered. And I think he does that with "West Side Story." He is an auteur director who bends a text to tell his story, and I see where people may raise objections to that approach. But I'm glad his "West Side Story" is available for people to experience, and I'm grateful that there's room for this kind of radical experimentation on Broadway.

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joevitus
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West Side Story#693
Posted: 1/26/20 at 4:18pm

The one point I'd disagree with you on--but I don't think it matters--is that future Broadway revivals will be more faithful. It seems to me that once a show gets reinterpreted, no one wants to go back to more traditional versions. Eventually, I think this will filter out into regional productions, too, but by eventually, I mean decades from now.

Jarethan
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West Side Story#694
Posted: 1/26/20 at 4:38pm

joevitus said: "The one point I'd disagree with you on--but I don't think it matters--is that future Broadway revivals will be more faithful. It seems to me that once a show gets reinterpreted, no one wants to go back to more traditional versions. Eventually, I think this will filter out into regional productions, too, but by eventually, I mean decades from now."

You are probably right.  I have not seen the original Cabaret in decades; the last few times I have seen it (regional or essentially Summer Stock), it has always been the Sam Mendes version.  Same thing with Chicago.  The homage version rather than the original.  Of course, that was probably to cut costs slightly, since the changes never seemed particularly material to me (although it has been 40 years or so since I saw the original Chicago.  Cabaret is DIFFERENT; Chicago is slightly different IMO.  I have always thought that Walter Bobbie must be one of the luckiest people in the world.

 
Bsmusicd
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West Side Story#695
Posted: 1/26/20 at 5:48pm

It's an interesting discussion about the functions of revivals.

I'm big a fan of the show and did music direction for it a while back. There were things I liked (the new choreography, the orchestra, Maria and Tony) and didn't like (the vocals, a lot of the video) about the current production. Yet, I found it to be a vast improvement over the more traditional 2009 revival.

It's easy to forgive an old film for being dated. You can overlook the brown face, dated dialogue, and treatment of female characters as socio-sexual conventions by acknowledging it was the 60s. But seeing a bunch of finger snapping white ballet dancers pretending to be teenage gang members looked silly in 2009. Likely even more so today.

The original choreography is extraordinary. But it can be seen every year at the NYC ballet.

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West Side Story#696
Posted: 1/26/20 at 6:06pm
@Jarathan

Walter Bobbie and Sam Mendes are certainly both very lucky in many ways, but they don’t earn a dime from all the regional and amateur theatres who plagiarize their directorial visions. Those versions have become so closely tied with the material that I think most regional directors copy it without even realizing it - they just think that’s how the show is done.Especially with Cabaret.
Globefan
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West Side Story#697
Posted: 1/26/20 at 7:33pm

Bsmusicd said: "It's an interesting discussionabout the functions of revivals.

I'm big a fan of the show and did musicdirection for it a while back. There were things I liked (the new choreography, the orchestra, Maria and Tony)and didn't like (the vocals, a lot of the video)about the current production. Yet,I found it to be a vast improvement over the more traditional2009 revival.

It's easy to forgive an old film for being dated. You can overlook the brown face,dated dialogue,and treatment of female characters as socio-sexual conventionsby acknowledgingit was the 60s. Butseeing a bunch of finger snapping white ballet dancerspretending to be teenagegang members looked silly in 2009. Likelyeven more so today.

The original choreography is extraordinary. But it can be seen every year at the NYC ballet.
"

I wonder how Spielberg's film is gonna make it feel fresh while keeping the original 1957 setting. 

Bsmusicd
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West Side Story#698
Posted: 1/26/20 at 7:41pm

"I wonder how Spielberg's film is gonna make it feel fresh while keeping the original 1957 setting."

I'm super exciting to see what he and Tony Kushner have come up with. Apparently every note of the score is still there, but Kushner has completely re-written the script.

 

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ljay889
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West Side Story#699
Posted: 1/26/20 at 7:43pm

Also, Sondheim has said recently that Kushner's script is "brilliant." 

Globefan
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West Side Story#700
Posted: 1/27/20 at 7:20pm

cfbrrr said: "A few things about the cutting of “I Feel Pretty” and the “Somewhere Ballet” that I don’t believe have been mentioned.

First of all, many, perhaps most, people tend to envision/remember “West Side Story” from the 1961 movie rather than via the 1957 original Broadway version — a significant issue given that many things were changed/adapted for the movie, a number of which were attributable to neither Bernstein nor Laurents nor the demoted-as-director Robbins.

In the original, “I Feel Pretty” comes right at the top of Act 2, which is hugely significant because the “Rumble” (not the “Tonight Quintet,” as is often assumed) ends Act 1. And the “Rumble,” of course, is where Tony kills Bernardo, Maria’s brother (who is also her best friend Anita’s lover), right after Bernardo has killed Riff.

The essential point is that when Maria, in the original version, sings “I Feel Pretty,” directly following a tension-breaking intermission, she is *totally unaware* that Tony has just killed her brother, resulting in dramatic irony of the most poignant kind. Though the audience knows what’s up, Maria is still able to bubble with glee over her newfound guy as if everything were right in the world and forever would be. On one level, it’s so deliriously joyful. Yet underneath, it’s so very, very sad. Great writing. Great psychological pacing. (In the movie, “I Feel Pretty” comes rather more daintily in advance of any dead bodies being strewn across the stage.)

And though Mr. Sondheim has for decades loudly voiced his displeasure over what he regards as his unsuitable lyrics for the song (I don’t agree; I cherish them, and remember how much, as a kid, I loved the line “Miss America can just resign&rdquoWest Side Story, he was the juniorest member, by far, of the quartet of creators of the show, and I seriously doubt whether any of the other three would have “not minded the loss of the song” in the current revival.

”I Feel Pretty” is musically brilliant, with a snappy Hispanic rhythm useful to the show, and a terrific middle section, starting, via the women’s ensemble, in minor mode, leading, with nifty key-changes and inspired text-settings (“this is nót the Má-ri-a wé know,” e.g.) to the final section, with its great and quirky “which, what, where, whom?” interjections and its rousing conclusion. Not only is it Maria’s only solo song [!], its setting with female-ensemble back-up is the original show’s only all-female ensemble number except for “America,” which, as in the movie, has been made into a multi-gender affair in the current revival. (Yet there is much all-maleness that remains . . .)

Thus, “I Feel Pretty” has gone from genius placement (original) to tepid placement (movie) to no placement (van Hove).

As for the “Somewhere Ballet,” let me just state that in the 1989 “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” which won the Tony for Best Musical that year, the concluding and climactic set of numbers ending the first act was a suite of dances from “West Side Story,” with the final number of that concluding segment — everything was chosen by Robbins himself — being not one of the flashy, jazzy, energetic numbers, as you might expect, but rather the “Somewhere Ballet,” so touching and so gorgeous in both music and choreography that it brought tears to my eyes on what was a most memorable (and long!) night in 1989. It’s super-obvious how much that number meant to the now-not-able-to-defend-himself Robbins.

In the current revival, not only is there no “Somewhere Ballet,” but the song itself — entrusted on Bernstein’s recordings to no less that Reri Grist and Marilyn Horne — is initiated/dominated by Tony, with him already having had tons of solo opportunities, thereby diminishing any sense of Maria’s parity yet further. A questionable holdover from the movie is worsened by Maria’s now seeming less significant — less eligible even — in Mr. van Hove’s world.

Say all you want about these these two cut numbers not fitting into the revival’s “concept.” I counter that any “West Side Story” that — jettisoning Robbins’ Prologue choreography, perhaps the most important and iconic piece of choreography in The Entirety of the American Musical Theater, in favor of having the rival gangs merely, at the outset, emit “meaningful” stares (their menacing finger-snaps that are *part of the actual printed score* having been summarily junked) — is already dead in the water, with or without superfluous rain.

That there needs to be, or even should be, “modernized” versions of classic shows to render them relevant or even palatable to contemporary audiences is a highly debatable notion — especially when, if then canonized on Broadway and accompanied by commercial recordings/video representations, they come to be accepted by/revealed to large swaths of the public as *the show itself*. Artistic license can be destructive as well as liberating — in the long as well as short term. Murder can result from both a bullet and a virus.

"

I wonder where I Feel Pretty will be placed in Spielberg's film. 


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