West Side Story Sin Queso

Looks like In the Heights made Broadway stand up and take notice of the Latino population's theatergoing potential--and everyone else's enthusiasm for Latino dance/music flavor. Yesterday's announcement that West Side Story is headed for a 2009 revival and considerable reworking is another obvious step toward continued diversification of the Great White Way. I'm not going to speculate about whether Latin culture, as depicted through a Sondheim filter, will manage to make its way to the forefront of this new production, but you can bet a whole lot of Latino actors will round out the cast, and as a result, will most likely deepen the show's conflict and resonance.

We are to expect a real departure from traditional mountings of the work, with Spanish additions to the songs and text. Arthur Laurents, still smoking from his Gypsy success, is sure to hit big again with this timely resurrection. Having him at the helm will be mighty thrilling, since he literally wrote the book on Maria and Tony, and he adds to the excitement with these cryptic comments:

"This show will be radically different from any other production of West Side Story ever done. The musical theatre and cultural conventions of 1957 made it next to impossible for the characters to have authenticity. Every member of both gangs was always a potential killer even then. Now they actually will be."

Things have changed even since a lean, mean John Leguizamo brought contemporary style to the filmed Romeo + Juliet 12 years ago, and I'm looking forward to a Broadway production not afraid to sharpen its knives, and let its chollos be the bad-asses they were always meant to be. 

July 17, 2008 8:43 AM | | Comments (0)

Leave a comment

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.