West Side Story at Cortland Repertory Theater

1cec429e-dd5d-4d77-9701-39c5f8f03ca4The iconic musical that has been performed by almost every high school in the US  and has won major screening awards has hit the summer stage at the Cortland Repertory Theater, or CRT!

About West Side Story:

The story is set in the ethnic, blue collar Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s. The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks, from Puerto Rico, are taunted by the Jets, a white gang. The young protagonist, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theater made this musical one of the most popular productions on Broadway stages, Hollywood screens, and amateur acting programs.

The production began with an opening number, showing the Jets asserting dominance over the Sharks, and discussing the possibility of an organized fight that will end the rivalry once and for all. Before the dispute, the Jets and Sharks gang leaders agree to attend a dance, where young Maria meets Tony, a former rival Jets member. They begin dancing and talking, oblivious to each others gang-related involvement. Maria is sent home when Bernardo spots them, and Tony promises to see Maria before the fight is set to begin. They continue to see each other over the next two days, though they could face scrutiny and punishment if their families found out. The day of the fight rolls around and Tony promises Maria he won’t step foot on the stomping grounds, though he goes anyway. As the fight escalates and Tony becomes more enraged that the two gangs can’t get along, he steps in and faces Bernardo and Riff, ultimate enemies.

The amazing cast at the CRT delivered another phenomenal show Saturday night, bringing tears to the audiences eyes with the reality of the love between Maria and Tony. The dancing, the musical numbers, the flawless acting, and the seamless set designs were comparable to a Broadway performance. Kudos to the director, Nathaniel Shaw, and the team of choreographers, designers, and music personnel. You delivered another flawless show, and we look forward to upcoming productions for the CRT Summer Stage series.

To experience the whole musical (highly recommended), go to Cortlandrep.org for tickets! West Side Story will be performed until July 9th!

Author: Emma Murphy

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