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Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of WEST SIDE STORY at 5th Avenue Theatre?

Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of WEST SIDE STORY at 5th Avenue Theatre?West Side Story is running now through June 23 at 5th Avenue Theatre.

From the first notes to the final breath, West Side Story is one of the most memorable musicals and greatest love stories of all time. Arthur Laurents' book remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever. The score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim are widely regarded as among the best ever written. The world's greatest love story takes to the streets in this landmark Broadway musical that is one of the theatre's finest accomplishments.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is transported to modern-day New York City as two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the "American" Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.

Bill Berry directs the 5th Avenue Theatre's production with Bob Richard choreographing.

The cast features Kyle Nicholas Anderson as "Snowboy," William Branner as "Tony," Nathan Brockett as "Glad Hand," Mikhail Calliste as "Anxious," Jeremy Cline as Gee Tar," Gabriel Corey as "Action," Alexander Gil Cruz as "Bernardo," Michele Dooley as a "Swing," Blair Jolly Elliot as "Anybodys," Lindsay Elvig as "Pauline," Marco Farroni as "Luis," Sophie Franco as "Rosalia," Jim Gall as "Lt. Schrank," Iliana Garcia as "Francisca," Paul Giarratano as a "Swing," Sapphire Goetz as "Ensemble," Danielle Gonzalez as "Anita," Richard Gray as "Krupke," Seán G. Griffin as "Doc," Diego Guevara as "Moose/Bernardo Understudy," Nik Hagen as "A-Rab," Hutch Hagendorf as "Mouth Piece," Trevor Hansen as "Big Deal," Laura Elizabeth Henning as "Velma," Jordan Jackson as "Diesel," Karma Jenkins as "Consuela," Danny Kam as a "Swing," Rico Lastrapes as "Shark Boy," Christopher Lopez as "Chino," Dan Lusardi as "Riff," Marte Osiris Madera as "Indio," Nia-Amina Minor as "Marguerita," Carlos Naverez as "Shark Ensemble," Taylor Niemeyer as "Estella," Kayden Oliver as "Pepe," Tia Petersen as "Graziella" Emily Pihlaja as "Clarice," Andrew Pontius as "Tiger," Fausto Rivera as "Shark Boy," Olivia Schmid as "Shark Girl," Mary Sigward as "Jeanie," Rebbekah Vega-Romero as "Maria," Brandon Weglin as "Baby John" and Jaclyn Wheatley as "Minnie."

For tickets and more information about the remainder of West Side Story's run, tap here.

Let's check out what the critics think...

Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld:The whole thing was treated like a cartoon with broad representations of the characters instead of playing real people. And broad, cartoon love doesn't elicit emotions (at least not for me). It felt like Berry was more interested in painting pretty pictures and telling the audience when and how to feel than telling a story and letting the feelings come naturally. Case in point in the Act Two dream ballet, "Somewhere" which is an ode to cultural harmony as well as the lovers pining for a way to be together, "Somewhere a place for us", he staged Tony and Maria singing the song on a catwalk above the ensemble looking down at them, and only standing near each other. It was more like they were addressing protestors when they should have been gazing into each other's eyes.

Doug Bursch, The Moderate Voice: Rebbekah Vega-Romero's part was probably the most enjoyable for me, as she presented Maria as innocent, enthralled and captivated by the seemingly unescapable draw of romantic love, but still able to understand the complex, troubling realities of living in a culture that openly codified its prejudices. Her character has enough depth to make her emotional arch believable and powerful by the climactic scene. And her voice....yes, her literally booming-from-the-rafters voice, honors and celebrates everything that is best about West Side Story's powerful score.

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