BWW Review: WEST SIDE STORY at Paper Mill Playhouse is Magnificent

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Paper Mill Playhouse is now presenting a captivating production of West Side Story through June 26th. The legendary musical is brilliantly directed by the theatre's Producing Artistic Director, Mark Hoebee and features Jerome Robbins' spirited choreography, wonderfully recreated by Alex Sanchez. The ever-popular score with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Steven Sondheim enjoys superb musical direction by Steve Orich. The Paper Mill Playhouse production exceeds the highest expectations for this celebrated piece of musical theatre. It is a magnificent grand finale to their successful season.

West Side Story premiered on Broadway in 1957 and has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations for decades. Based on a concept by Jerome Robins, the book is by Arthur Laurents. It is a timeless story of true romance alongside the turmoil caused by prejudice. The show is set on the West Side of New York City in the summer of 1957. The Sharks and the Jets are rival street gangs that create tragedy and insurmountable obstacles for the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria.

Paper Mill Playhouse has assembled a top-notch cast for West Side Story that breathes full life into the modern American classic. The lead actors master their roles with Matt Doyle as Tony, Belinda Allyn as Maria, Natalie Cortez as Anita, German Alexander as Bernardo and Mikey Winslow as Riff.

Also featured are Maria Briggs as Anybodys; Michael Bullard as Big Deal; Spencer Clark as Gee-Tar; John Michael Fiumara as Diesel; Kevin C. Loomis as Krupke; Dean Andre de Luna as Chino; William Ragsdale as Shrank; Jay Russell as Doc; Parker Slaybaugh as Baby John; Jack Sippel as A-Rab; Brendon Stimson as Snowboy; Craig Waletzko as Glad Hand and Cody Williams as Action.

Rounding out the ensemble are Danny Bevins, Victoria Casillo, Damian Chambers, Philip Colgan Brittany Conigatti, Lauren Csete, Tenealle Farragher, Lisa Finegold, Jordan Isadore, Ilda Mason, Kat Nejat, Kevin Michael Raponey, Adam Rogers, Alexia Sky, Summerisa Bell Stevens, Jayme Wappel and James Allen Washington.

The beloved musical score is performed to perfection. The many outstanding numbers include "Jet Song" by Riff and the Jets, "Maria" by Tony, "Tonight" by Tony and Maria, "America" by Anita, Rosalia and Shark Girls, "Somewhere" by Tony, Maria and the Company and "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love" by Anita and Maria.

Long after the curtain call, you will remember the wonderfully staged scenes like the exciting dance at the gym, Tony and Maria's beautiful liaison at the bridal shop, the tense rumble between the Jets and the Sharks and the final moments with everyone in the neighborhood.

The Design Team has brought a true sense of the city in the 1950's to Paper Mill Playhouse with scenic design by James Youmans; lighting design by Charlie Morrison; costume design by David C. Wollard; sound design by Randy Hansen; hair wig & makeup design by Amanda Miller; Kelly Tighe is the Scenic Coordinator and Dana Burkart is the Costume Coordinator. Casting is by Telsey + Company.

No matter how many times you've seen West Side Story, the Paper Mill Playhouse production will be an absolutely thrilling experience. Make plans to attend. Tickets are sure to sell fast.

West Side Story will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse through June 26th eight times a week, Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets are on sale starting at $32. They may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343 at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn or online at Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount and should call 973.315.1680. Students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Box Office on the day of the performance.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

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From This Author Marina Kennedy