Dear Inaginary Friends,
Which of the above three people are convincing gang members? If you guessed none of the above, I am inclined to agree with you!
In Signature Theater's new production of West Side Story, the casting requires a real suspension of disbelief by theater goers.
Not only do the gang members seem less than threatening (much less murderous, ) they are dressed like preppies! Take the example of Tony, a main gang character. He has a sweet baby face and wears khakis, yet we are expected to see him as dangerous. I can picture him in an Eagle Scout ceremony.
Other than that, the ambitious production with a full orchestra and 30 actors soars with fabulous music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Steven Sondheim and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Credentials like that cannot be surpassed in the theater world.
My favorite songs are Tonight, Maria, I Feel Pretty, America, and Somewhere.
The most sizzle is found in the performance of Anita, although she appears to be ten years older than the part calls for.
All in all, younger, tougher-looking actors would help the play achieve the verisimilitude it lacks.
So says me. Clothing and costumes are also incongruous.
Signature's "Cabaret" was a better production with far more convincing performances.
Your Imaginary Theater Goer,