Many people know the original West Side Story, Sharks vs. Jets, Romeo and Juliette type-storyline. Recently a revamped revival of West Side Story has begun previews at the Broadway Theater in New York City. The cast consists of actors who have been in Mean Girls, The Lion King, Hadestown, To Kill A Mockingbird, Newsies, and many more.
The plot and songs are all the same in this revival (with the exception of removing "I Feel Pretty"), but the creators have decided to modernize it. I have never seen the original or any past revivals, but after doing some research, I have found that many things have changed. One of the biggest things, in my opinion, was the use of technology.
Every part of the show was being filmed and put on the back wall of the stage which, I found, ended up being slightly confusing at times. People would walk around on stage holding cameras and getting close-up shots of the action. There were also cameras placed in smaller rooms on stage, which reminded me of security cameras. These cameras allowed the audience to see what was going on in rooms that we could not see into.
Another big change was the use of iPhones. During one song the wall which was used to broadcast video footage changed to show videos of people recording their conversations with police officers in case anything all of a sudden changed for the worse. If they recorded it, they could use the footage in their favor at a later time.
Many people disagree with the changes that were made because it is such a classic show. There are also some people, however, who think that these changes are good and that they keep the show up to date. The original West Side Story was written in 1957. Many things have changed since then and so the directors made the choice to update the show to match the changes that have been made in the past 60 years.
Some of my favorite parts of the show were the dances, specifically in "America" and "Dance at the Gym." My favorite songs were "America" and "Gee, Officer Krupke." Some of the actors who I saw were understudies which could have affected my opinions on this show. Another thing that should be mentioned is that this show is still in previews and they are still working out issues to make sure that the show is perfect by the time of opening (Feb. 20).
Overall, I think that it was worth seeing this show. I got tickets for Christmas and I feel I would have regretted not seeing it. If you enjoy theater, I recommend seeing this show. It's a classic with a modern twist and once it is out of previews I think that it will be really good.