The famed live musical, “West Side Story” is coming to Cleveland’s Playhouse Square Tuesday, May 3, 7:30p.m. The tale of two love struck teenagers is separated by culture, ethnicity, and family but love brings them together in this modern version of Romeo and Juliet.
In West Side Story, Puerto Rican immigrants come to the heart of New York City to begin a new life, but are confronted by those who do not share their views of openness. Hispanicohio.com had a chance to talk to German Santiago who plays Bernardo, a key character in the musical.
Santiago was born in Mexico City, Mexico and moved to Houston at about the age of six, from their he was raised and eventually received his BSA in musical theater with an emphasis on acting. Santiago currently lives in the Los Angeles area and has spent time playing as Disney’s Aladdin , where he performed at Disneyland four times a day.
However, as Bernardo, Santiago wants to bring something new to a character that has been rein acted thousands of times.
“I want to do something different and original. I want to bring more charm and more humor,” said Santiago. “I also want to bring more of the human part of him so people relate to him on an organic human level.”
Santiago stressed the importance of acting when Bernardo has no lines, “A lot of times it’s what you don’t say,” said Santiago.
In West Side Story, Bernardo is the leader of a gang, his parents came to American for a better life, but like so many in his time and in his situation, he decided to turn to the streets to get an edge in life.
“He sort of got involved in the whole gang mentality, trying to create his name in the streets rather then doing it the better way to create a better life for himself,” said Santiago. “[Bernardo] wants to put his footprint on the map.”
But Bernardo is piece of the puzzle in this great love story.