West Side Story at The Wick a Don’t-Miss!

unspecifiedI was a little worried that The Wick would not be able to pull it off. “West Side Story” with its sophisticated choreography alone seemed like a tall order for this little community theater.

Boy, was I wrong.

This may be the finest production yet at The Wick, with stellar direction and choreography (based on the original by Jerome Robbins) by Charles South and Ryan VanDenBoom, and a cast of gifted dancers and actors. The theater itself lent an intimacy to the musical which is not remotely possible in a larger venue or on the screen, a factor that graced the play and the score with a depth I was not anticipating. The proximity alone could have undermined a less polished production but in this case, it endowed it with an immediacy and a relevance that resonated in the context of current issues with immigration and racial prejudice.

Thaddeus Pearson was a dreamy and powerful Tony; Sydney Mei Ruf-Wong crackled as Anita. Mary Joanna Grosso was a lovely Maria, but her voice was almost overshadowed by Pearson’s in their duets. The music? Wonderful. “Maria,” “Tonight” and a dream sequence for “Somewhere” were highlights.

The Jets and the Sharks dazzled (and again, that choreography!), especially late in the production in the “Gee, Officer Krupke” number. The set by Jim Buff was beautifully lit and offered a simple yet sophisticated urban context to the production.

Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a plotline by William Shakespeare is a hard combo to beat; The Wick Theater has honored the iconic production with this show.

The production will run through February 26, 2017; call 561/995-2333 or info@theWick.org

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