June 8th, 2016

wss cool knees by skybound2

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‘West Side Story’ Returns to Paper Mill Playhouse After 25 Years

By MICHAEL SOMMERS

Musicals come — and then most musicals go.

Yet a handful of them are so replete with passion and the human experience — so superbly conceived, structured, composed and choreographed — that they never lose their punch.

“West Side Story” falls easily into this category. A lyrical fusion of memorable songs, affecting story and dynamic choreography, the classic musical has returned to Paper Mill Playhouse after a 25-year hiatus. The current revival in Millburn is aptly timed: The theater is the state’s pre-eminent house for musicals, and it was just recognized with the 2016 Tony Award given to regional theaters.

The director Mark S. Hoebee, who is also Paper Mill’s producing artistic director, lovingly gives “West Side Story” a traditional staging that is performed very well by a talented company. His fine revival is driven by Alex Sanchez’s faithful replication of those famously high-flying dances created by Jerome Robbins, the original director-choreographer, who is credited with coming up with the idea for the 1957 musical.
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