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Review: ‘West Side Story’ is all of our stories

by Ellen Burkhardt

It’s a story that could be told about any city, anywhere, at any time: Two ethnically divided groups fighting over pride, property, bragging rights, and power; their actions motivated by fear, insecurity, and hatred.
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INTERVIEW: Tyler Michaels on West Side Story and His New Theatre Company

by Basil Considine

Somali gangs in Minneapolis might get all the press, but the City of St. Paul is about to get its very own gang problem. Well, kind of – the Jets and Sharks of West Side Story are set to occupy the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts from April 4-16. This classic musical is being produced as a collaboration between the Ordway and the Teatro del Pueblo, and engages with gang rivalries, immigration tension, and other themes that remain surprisingly relevant today.

In this production, Tyler Michaels plays Tony, a former Jets member who is swept back into the violence and falls tragically in love with Maria (Evy Ortiz). Basil Considine sat down with Tyler Michaels to discuss his acting career, his new theatre company, and returning to the role of Tony.
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BWW Interview: WEST SIDE STORY's Evy Ortiz Answers Six Questions & A Plug

by Kristen Hirsch Montag

The Ordway in Saint Paul opens WEST SIDE STORY April 6 with a cast of mostly local performers, including phenom Tyler Michaels as Tony.

His on-stage love interest is played by Evy Ortiz (Maria), who is a vocal match for his well-known pipes. The two make beautiful music together as the star-crossed lovers from the well-worn musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim. The production is visually appealing, well cast and the orchestra, led by local conductor Raymond Berg, is pitch perfect. The choreography (Diane Laurenson) is recreated or at least heavily influenced from the original stage version by the looks of it so this show is everything traditionalists will want from it.

Ortiz took a moment from rehearsals this week to respond to 6 Questions & a Plug. Learn more about this lovely actor/singer and get your tickets to WEST SIDE STORY before they're all gone.
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REVIEW: This electric revival harks back to Jerome Robbins' original staging 60 years ago.

By Rohan Preston Star Tribune

Is there anything that Twin Cities theater phenom Tyler Michaels cannot do? Here, at last, is one: In “West Side Story,” which had its thrilling opening Thursday at Ordway Center, Michaels doesn’t even attempt a New York accent for this “Romeo and Juliet” story about battling Big Apple street gangs.

Otherwise, Michaels holds his own, singing and dancing as the romantic lead Tony opposite Evy Ortiz’s entrancing Maria. These two headliners add to the electricity rippling off the stage from a solid revival of the classic musical, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year.
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WEST SIDE STORY at Columbus Children's Theatre Conveys a Bigger Message

by Hannah Herner

Stephen Soundheim's classic work, West Side Story has probably been performed thousands, if not a million times since it debuted on Broadway in 1957.

Few of those performances, however, come in the wake of a national tragedy as the recent Orlando shooting.
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First Look at Theatre By The Sea's WEST SIDE STORY

Bill Hanney's award winning Theatre By The Sea (TBTS) presents the beloved musical classic, WEST SIDE STORY. Shakespeare's immortal 'Romeo & Juliet' is transported to 20th century New York City, where two idealistic young lovers, with only their love in common, find themselves caught between warring street gangs and clashing cultures. WEST SIDE STORY runs from Wednesday, June 22 thru Saturday, July 16, 2016.

"We continue the season with a true American classic musical, West Side Story," said TBTS owner and producer Bill Hanney. "With its legendary score, iconic dance numbers, and passionate tale of star-crossed lovers, the musical will captivate today's audience the same way it did when it premiered on Broadway 60 years ago."
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Harbor Lights Theater Company to Present WEST SIDE STORY, 11/7-23

The Harbor Lights Theater Company, Staten Island's only professional Equity Theater Company lead by Founders and Artistic Directors Tamara Jenkins and Jay Montgomery and Associate Producer Beth Gittleman, announces the last show of their fifth season. The beloved classic West Side Story, which transports Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the streets of the Upper West Side in 1950's NYC, is set to open November 7 and run through November 23, 2014 at the Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Gardens.
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This is the 1st Broadway National Tour of West Side Story with their take on Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’.
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Show & Tell Review: West Side Story

Posted by Sarah- Show & Tell Reviewer

Transport the classic romance and tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to 1950s New York amidst the rag-tag gangs who clashed over rights to their territory, and you find West Side Story. The association is purposeful, the original creators intended for their story to emulate Shakespeare’s beloved classic.

Last night, West Side Story made its way to the Fox Cities P.A.C. and was warmly welcomed by an eager audience. The cast was superb, the costumes and set were first-class, and the music was outstanding. The Fox Cities was privileged to be presented with an updated version of the classic musical, revived onstage in 2009. This adaptation was Arthur Laurents’ (the author of the book for the original 1957 production) attempt at making the story more modern and authentic. To do so, choreography was slightly modified and more of the script has been translated into Spanish.

The story’s tension was felt as soon as the curtain rose. The story of two conflicting gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, whose rivalry was born not just from wanting control of the same streets, but from the ignorance and racism between Puerto Ricans and Americans in New York at that time, was portrayed swiftly and effectively. The Center’s audience was immediately pulled into the clash and responded with a full range of emotions as well as enthusiastic applause.
Leonard Bernstein's and Stephen Sondheim’s original score is an absolute masterpiece. When it was first being produced Bernstein was told that West Side Story was an impossible project, that no one would be able to sing the complicated rhythms and wide ranging songs. Not only has that supposition been disproved time and again over the decades, but last night in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center the current cast of West Side Story demonstrated just how wrong those nay-sayers were. The difficult songs were played and sung masterfully, making it appear to an unsuspecting audience as if this musical’s score were easy and not the truth behind it: that they were performing musical acrobatics.
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A Few Minutes With ...
Evy Ortiz
'Maria' has been to the west side, and elsewhere


By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel

Actress, singer and dancer Evy Ortiz stars as Maria in the touring company of "West Side Story." We caught up with her at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee, where the show will play through Sunday. This is an edited transcript of the conversation.





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A Few Minutes With ...
Evy Ortiz
'Maria' has been to the west side, and elsewhere


By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel

Actress, singer and dancer Evy Ortiz stars as Maria in the touring company of "West Side Story." We caught up with her at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee, where the show will play through Sunday. This is an edited transcript of the conversation.





Read more... )
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A real-life 'West Side Story'
Family of Maria actress reflects play's immigrants

Written by
MICHAEL MORAIN


When this week’s Civic Center audiences meet a girl named Maria, played by the actress Evy Ortiz, she’ll be singing the story of her grandparents. They left Puerto Rico for New York in the 1950s, just like the immigrants portrayed in the Broadway musical “West Side Story.”

“This is the role everyone said I should play, and it’s been my dream since I was younger,” said the actress, who grew up in New York herself, in Spanish Harlem. “It was sort of meant to be, I guess.”

She puts up their photos in her dressing room — her grandfather Andres, with a skinny tie, and her grandmother Eloina, feeling pretty in a tight dress and pearls. You can practically hear them singing.

Skyscrapers bloom in America. Cadillacs zoom in America. Industry boom in America.

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The tour of the smash hit Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY is back from a one month hiatus and Denver is their first stop. Eden meets Ross Lekites (Tony), Evy Ortiz (Maria), and the company dance captain, and Swing, Ryan Ghysels.
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Revival of the 1957 musical still relevant, nostalgic and current

Ken Glickman
Lansing State Journal

We don't expect 50-year-old musicals to be like this: pulsating music, exciting dancing, and a plot all about urban gangs clashing between Hispanics (Puerto Ricans) and whites with a heartbreaking love story in the middle.

But that's "West Side Story," the show that is at once nostalgic and surprisingly current. Now considered one of the best musicals ever written, in 1957, when it originally opened on Broadway, the show was considered edgy, overly loud and rhythmic. It played for less than two years, and "Music Man" won the Tony for best musical that year.
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First look at WEST SIDE STORY National Tour with second year cast. WEST SIDE STORY stars Ross Lekites as Tony, Evy Ortiz as Maria, Michelle Aravena as Anita, Drew Foster as Riff and German Santiago as Bernardo. Read more... )

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