New Bilingual West Side Story Tender, Uneven

Production can be uneven, but still enjoyable
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2009 11:44 AM CDT
New Bilingual West Side Story Tender, Uneven
Opening night of the Broadway musical "West Side Story" at The Palace Theatre, in New York, on Thursday, March 19, 2009.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)

The highly anticipated revival of West Side Story on Broadway opened last night to solid reviews, with critics applauding an unusually tender interpretation in which the women rule. Highlights:

  • “Even when they’re flashing switchblades and kicking people in the ribs, the teenage hoodlums who maraud through Arthur Laurents’s startlingly sweet new revival of West Side Story seem like really nice kids,” writes Ben Brantley in the New York Times.

  • “The much-anticipated rethinking of West Side Story is neither revelation nor vandalism. It is still West Side Story. In other words, it's still a wonderful show,” notes Linda Winer in Newsday.
  • “Yes, Spanish is woven into dialogue and songs. But because Spanish starts and stops within a scene, the concept feels arbitrary,” writes Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York Daily News.
  • The breakout performance here, without question, is Karen Olivo’s Anita," writes Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune. "And given what this production is attempting, it is wholly appropriate that this West Side should belong to Anita and the women who swirl and survive around her." 
(More Broadway stories.)

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