Girls of ‘West Side Story’ steal the show
DES MOINES — On opening night of the Des Moines Civic Center’s Willis Broadway Series 2012 season, the colors and contrasts of 1950s New York were alive and well in the revival of Leonard Bernstein’s and Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story.”
The traveling cast of this comedic tragedy, inspired by William Shakespeare’s unattainable romance in “Romeo and Juliet,” give an energetic and emotional performance as the rival gangs the Sharks and the Jets.
The story centers around the love affair between the white, working class teen Tony, played by Ross Lekites, and the young Puerto Rican immigrant Maria, played by Evy Ortiz. Although torn by loyalty between the feuding factions of the Puerto Rican Sharks and the native New Yorker Jets, Tony is stricken by the beauty and genuine air of Maria. Tony is at odds with his former gang, the Sharks, and Maria defies her brother Bernardo and friend Anita by entering into a secret romance with Tony. The unlikely couple are able to see past the cultural differences and racial tensions that divide their family and friends, but their relationship ultimately becomes a martyr to end the bloodshed.
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