Thursday, March 05, 2020

I really resent this ...

Recently I watched a “60 Minutes” segment that, literally, had me in tears. No, it wasn't anything political or a world disaster … it was a review of the Broadway remake of the musical “West Side Story” that is currently making it's debut on Broadway.

Why was I so sad? Let me explain ...In 1957 I was living in NY city and thrilled to be attending the opening night of the amazing musical “West Side Story".  It was (and still is) one of my favorite memories. One of the things that I loved about the original show was the raw stage simplicity that allowed the music of Leonard Bernstein to be front and center.

The beauty and the ugliness of NY City were on stark display and I was entranced with the simple set changes that tied it all together. I have never (before or since) seen a musical that touched me as this one did.

The new production of “West Side Storycomes from the mind of Belgian director Ivo van Hove and the glitzy rendition left me not only cold but also very sad. The actors perform on stage as a large and constantly changing movie version is displayed on the backdrop behind then. Combine this with the “over-the-top” choreography and there's little that makes me think of New York City … especially the way it was in the year 1957 when Bernstein wrote about it. ..AND, the final blow, they left out the song “I Feel Pretty".

I guess this shows how petty I can be … but, how dare a Belgian director, known primarily for his Off-Broadway avant-garde experimental theater productions, make an over-the-top masquerade of one of my favorite memories. You bet I'm resentful !


Blogger Marie Smith said...

I think certain treasures should be left as they are. I’ve had enough of the remakes!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Seeing the original play must have been a profound experience.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Lucky you to have seen the first performance. I never saw a stage production of it but remember the 60's movie which I did love. Probably won't see the newer version.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

No need to apologize at all, Ginnie, as I feel the same way about this iconic movie which I have seen several times and own on DVD. That director should have focused on his own original work and not attempted to re-do a classic. I'm with you!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Regina M. said...

Ginnie, one of my favorite musicals choreographed by Jerome Robbins and my favorite song, "Maria." I have been reading the reviews and seen clips of this remake. Agree with you 100%. If I'm correct, I read that the snapping of fingers in that one special scene has been left out. I can't imagine how much drama is erased by dong so. Lived 20 mins. outside of Manhattan and always have been fascinated with the theatre. Lucky enough to have seen many wonderful shows, including the Roxy Theatre seasonal productions and Radio City Music Hall. I was so fortunate and inspired by the visual as well as the fantastic music.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

From how you describe this new version, I agree — I would much prefer the original. Sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone. West Side Story was spectacular though I never had the pleasure of seeing the actual broadway stage production.

11:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home