By Kris Collingridge
West Side Story, the classic Bernstein-Sondheim musical, is onstage at The Paramount Theatre through Sunday. The energetic mid-last-century take on “Romeo and Juliet” is well worth a look if you have kids in late middle or high school.
The story is the same – Lower East Side gangs battle for supremacy iwith a capoeira-like form of violence that seems almost quaint, 55 years after the musical was first produced – but a fresh cast of talented dancers, actors and (yes) comedians brings it to new and vivid life.
Jerome Robbins’ choreography, as reworked by Joey McKneely, still looks arresting, classical ballet poses melding seamlessly with bursts of angular modern dance. The leads – a luminous Evy Ortiz as Maria and a clean-cut Ross Lekitas as Tony – are a believable pair of young lovers, and their singing is passionate and beautiful.
We saw a few younger kids in the audience, but some of the subject matter – which includes bigotry, violence and sexuality – is better suited for older tweens and teens. The cast has bawdy good fun in a few of the numbers, thrusting their hips and letting the innuendo fly, making this not a G-rated show, but a very enjoyable one.
West Side Story runs at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15. Buy tickets here. And check soon -- performances may be sold out.
The show is recommended for ages 13 and up.