Even for a solidly established regional company like Portland Center Stage, “West Side Story” is a stretch, and I expected to see an ambitious but not wholly successful production about which I’d have felt honor-bound to write a tactful, encouraging review. Well, guess what? This “West Side Story” needs no apologies of any kind. Among other things, it’s the best-sung revival of a musical that I’ve ever seen, whether on or off Broadway.
Strong words, I know, but all the leads have splendid voices and compelling personalities, especially Carey Brown, who sings well enough to remind me of Kristin Chenoweth….
Intiman Theatre has done itself proud with “Native Son,” Kent Gash’s new dramatic adaptation of Richard Wright’s still-shocking 1940 novel about a young black man from Chicago who lays belated claim to his ravaged manhood through the act of murder. Few great novels have been put on stage without losing their souls along the way, but Mr. Gash, who doubles as director of this production, has wisely stuck close to Wright’s original text, cunningly shaping it into a Brecht-like chronicle play whose occasional moments of narrative stiffness do nothing to diminish its slashing intensity….
No free link. To read the whole thing, go out and buy a copy of today’s morning’s Journal, then turn to the “Weekend Journal” section. Better yet, go here to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will give you on-the-spot access to the complete text of my review, plus a plethora of other good pieces. (If you’re already a subscriber, the review is here.)