We all know the story of star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony in West Side Story. The musical has been revived multiple times on Broadway, and its original run won two Tony Awards. The movie version became an instant classic, taking home 10 Academy Awards and making everyone feel pretty. So why is there so much buzz surrounding yet another stage version of the Romeo and Juliet–inspired tale?
Well, speaking of feeling attractive, one of the most memorable songs from the musical—”I Feel Pretty”—has been cut, along with another fan-favorite melody, “Somewhere.” Those are just two of the eyebrow-raising artistic decisions made by the show’s Tony Award–winning director, Ivo van Hove, who says he is committed to ushering the Jets and Sharks into a new decade.
The choreography familiar to fans wasn’t safe either; van Hove is replacing the ballet of Jerome Robbins with an avant-garde contemporary dance choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, making her theatrical debut.
In fact, a whopping 23 of the actors in the production will be making their Broadway debuts! That includes Dharon E. Jones, who will pick up the Riff mantle after Mean Girls alum Ben Cook injured himself during a recent preview performance. But the green cast will still have a few vets to look up to, including Isaac Powell (Once on This Island) as Tony; Yesenia Ayala (Carousel) as Anita; and the show’s Maria, Shereen Pimentel, who got her start in The Lion King at age 9.
Personally, we are so excited to see if this new, modern interpretation holds a candle to past ones, and we’re pretty sure we’re not the only ones. Translation: Grab your seats ASAP!
West Side Story
1681 Broadway (between West 52nd and 53rd Streets), Times Square
Opens Monday, February 20
Tickets start at $79