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REVIEW: ‘West Side Story,’ A Timeless Story with a Sweeping Score and Innovative Dance Narrative

by Ivan Steel

There’s no doubt why Arthur Laurents critically acclaimed masterpiece, “West Side Story” has been enthralling audiences for the past 60 years. Besides, it’s sweeping score and innovative dance narrative, the timeless story of forbidden love, racial tension and police corruption still bear relevance today. Now, McCoy Rigby Entertainment has brought the iconic musical to The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, under the direction of Richard Israel, currently playing through May 14, 2017.

The landmark musical, based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” explores the rivalry between two New York City street gangs – the Jets [a Caucasian gang] and the Sharks [a Puerto Rican gang] in the mid 1950’s. Laurents original book entitled “East Side Story” featured a feud between an Irish-Catholic and Jewish family before rewritten into the gang warfare version we’re all familiar with today.
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WEST SIDE STORY: STILL MAKING MAGIC ON STAGE

BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO

West Side Story is unlike any other musical. Generation after generation, it stands the test of time both in admiration and in the message it relates: hope heals and hate destroys. This beloved musical was created by the juggernauts of the industry: Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music), Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and Jerome Robbins (conception and choreography) and took the world by storm when it landed on Broadway in 1957. If that wasn’t enough, it was adapted to a film in 1961, winning ten Academy Awards including Best Picture. Now La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts carries on the tradition in its own magnificent production of this classic, melding past and present in this sparkling revival.
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