July 22nd, 2013

  • mapol

West Side Story--The Broadway Stage Revival--A Critique:

The newer, more up-to-date Broadway stage revival of West Side Story that I, my sister-in-law and my then 8-year-old niece saw back in late June of 2011 was enjoyable, but, as a devout fan of the film version of West Side Story who's also seen several really good stage productions prior to seeing this one, there were a number of things that bothered me about this particular revival of the Broadway stage version of West Side Story:

A) The finger-snapping and the Jet gang whistles, which, imho, were a very integral part of the story in both the original Broadway stage version, as well as the film version of West Side Story, were taken out of this particular revival altogether. It's a shame, because that was kind of messing with a classic.

B) It's all very well to have the Sharks and their girls singing and speaking in Spanish, which is an interesting idea on the face of it, but this, too, is another example of messing with a classic.

C) Having seen a number of other stage productions of West Side Story that I found very good, I also felt, however, that, while the dancing, as well as some of the voices, was good in this latest WSS stage production, I have never before seen a production of West Side Story that sort of screamed at you pretty much the whole time, and that was so overly emoted by the various characters. Inotherwords, this particular production was somewhat bombastic for my tastes. Moreover, Tony's singing voice sounded very artificial, with very slow, wide vibrattos that one could practically skip-rope through (if one gets the drift.), plus Tony's singing voice sounded really forced in many places.

D) The basic musical score was retained, and it was, interestingly enough, a somewhat more jazzed up flavor, but it did sound somewhat shrill and tinny in many places.

E). In both the film version of West Side Story, as well as the several other stage productions of WSS that I'd seen prior to this particular production, several of the Jets and Sharks came together to in the end to carry Tony's body off after he's been shot by Chino, providing a ray of hope and hinting of a possible reconciliation between both sides. Unfortunately, this production of West Side Story lacked that scene in the end, which was also sort of a downer.
  • mapol

Tanglewood Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story (film) Concert:

Hi again, everybody!

A week ago this past Saturday, I attended a fabulously spectacular Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story concert at Tanglewood, out in Western MA, in the Berkshires. The Boston Symphony Orchestra played a fantastic live rendition of the musical score to the film West Side Story, which added a whole new dimension to an already-great classic movie, of which a beautifully (digitally) restored, High-definition, re-printed, cleaned up and remastered version was shown. Word had it that there were at least 20,000 people at Tanglewood that night. Not surprisingly, with West Side Story being West Side Story, this particular concert sold out, big time, despite the addition of afew extra lawn benches. Fortunately, however, I'd purchased my ticket, in person, at the Boston Symphony Hall box office, and made my room reservation, back in late January of this year, right when tickets for the BSO/WSS Tanglewood concert went on sale to the general public, both of which made a huge difference.

Since I had a ticket for a seat inside the shed at Tanglewood, and had ordered a bag-lunch/dinner to go, way in advance, everything was great, and I had nothing to worry about. This fabulous evening, however, was preceded by a (mis) adventure; the unexpected break-down of my car, at a service plaza 26 miles from Tanglewood. At the advice of the guy behind the country, I called the State Police, who, in turn, gave me the number of a towing company, known as Red's Towing, who I called immediately. What saved my weekend was the arrival 45 minutes later of a young guy driving a flatbed tow truck at the plaza where I was, after having told the Towing company of my whereabouts. The young man who was driving the tow truck asked me where I was going and what I was going to see, so I told him about the concert. After calling afew car repair places in Wsstern MA and finding them closed, the tow-truck driver called a Munro car repair place not far from Tanglewood, and a bit up the street from the inn where I was to stay for the night after the Tanglewood concert.

My car was towed to the Munro's car repair place just a little bit up the street from the inn where I stayed that night, and I was dropped off at the inn by the tow truck driver. I thanked the tow-truck driver, paid the cost of the towing (which was 92 dollars!), entered the repair shop and told the manager of the shop what had gone on. As the manager had said, he called me just before closing for the night, and told me that a pulley to the A/C compressor had frozen, causing my car to die, that it would be four days before they'd be able to get the part, and that it would be a $650.00 repair job. I thanked the manager for calling me back so quickly.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story was a great concert. There was an exuberant crowd, and much applause and finger-snapping took place after each WSS number, leading me to believe that there were a great many New Yorkers in the audience. (Boston audiences, btw, enjoy West Side Story just as much as New Yorkers, despite being somewhat more reserved, so that's okay.) The concert was 2.5 hours long, had a 20-minute intermission and ended at about 11:00 that night. What a way to spend a Saturday night; seeing one's favorite movie and hearing a live rendition of the musical score played by a famous orchestra (i. e. the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to boot!)

Everything was crowded, the traffic was high, and having had to take a taxi cab to the concert due to my not having a car, it was all very well that I didn't have my car that night. So, I hoofed it partway back to the inn where I was staying for the night, and, believe it or not, when I asked a cop how far I still had to go to the inn where I was staying, he answered that I had at least 3 or 4 miles to go, and gave me a ride the rest of the way! All told, it had been a fabulous night!

Getting back home to Boston the next day was much more arduous. My dead car had to be towed back to Boston, without question. No car rentals were open, except a Hertz rental, which was 8 miles further west, in Pittsfield, MA, there were no buses back to Boston from Lenox, and none of the Berkshires area towing companies would to all the way from Lenox, MA to Boston, MA. Finally, I called the Honda dealer back in Boston (where I'd purchased my car ten years before), and they gave me the name of a towing company that they used. They'd have to come all the way out there, and tow it back to the dealer, and that I could get a ride back to Boston with the driver. I waited, since I had no other choice, and the 2.5 hour wait that they'd predicted turned out to be over 4 hours, but I eventually got back to Boston.

Fortunately, all was not lost on that weekend. A fabulous concert, and very pretty scenery on the way to and from Tanglewood made it all worthwhile! I was glad to have attended and been a part of this great thriller of a concert!
wss anita by deisi

(no subject)

Rita Moreno to Receive SAG Lifetime Achievement Award at 2014 SAG Awards

By: Brad Brevet

This morning the Screen Actors Guild announced Rita Moreno will receive the 2014 SAG Lifetime Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. The Life Achievement Award Recipient is nominated and voted on by the Guild's National Honors and Tributes Committee and Moreno will be the 50th recipient of the award following recent honorees including Ernest Borgnine, Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke last year.
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