I've been in New York City this weekend to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Melissa in the form of a bridal shower brunch (and to visit some of my other favorite people of course). She and I have been talking about trying to win tickets to see WWS (she loves it as much as I do) for months now. Long story short, Melissa won the lottery. This was a big deal, because in its second week of previews (the show is still in soft rehersals, it doesn't officially open until the end of March) the lottery pool was already almost as large as Wickeds. (Joe, Jamar and I tried to win on Friday night but didn't) For the girl who says she never wins anything, she really won the big prize. She and I were literally floating on air during dinner.
When you win lottery tickets, you pay $26.50 to sit in the front row with somewhat obstructed view (in this case, we couldn't see the dancers feet too much). NO BIG DEAL. Being so close to the 30 person orchestra, and seeing all the actors' faces and true sweat... the show whas phen.om.enal. Words will not do it justice, but I'll try.
Things I love love loved about this West Side Story revival (in no particular order):
- The dancing was the original choreography from the original show recreated and restaged. High kicks, jumps and all. Seeing it from the front row was surreal; and completely all encompassing.
- Being so close to the stage allowed us to keep a close eye on the conductor and how good he was at his job--especially keeping the music and snaps on count.
- During the large group dances (the Mambo at the gym, the opening scene, "Cool") there was so much to see and movement from all corners that it was overwhelming to watch and decide where to focus.
- The color palattes for the Jets and Sharks were unbelievable. The Jets wore green, mellow orange and khacki while the Sharks wore purple and black. The costumes blew my mind, because the styles were all so different, but the colors clearly identified what gang each character belonged to.
- They used actual Latins for the Sharks. The Sharks spoke and sang in Spanish. While I missed hearing the words to some classic songs ("I Feel Pretty"), hearing them in Spanish was this amazing combination of old and new.
- The Anita in this show should win a Tony hands down. Any.time. she was on the stage I literally could not take my eyes off of her. She absolutely sold her part -- more so than any character I have ever seen on stage (Elphaba in Wicked included).
- Have I mentioned how amazing the dancing was?
- Tony was a hunk. Riff too. Bernardo tambien. In fact, all the male characters on this show were strong.
- Singing check. Dancing check. Acting? Superb. You felt the honest emotion; the show was incredibly raw. The tension was there from start to finish. I know the ins and outs of the story but was still shocked and surprised by the plot. It's easy to get carried away when a show is just that good.