Thursday, November 4, 2010
West Coast Story
I thought the concept worked well as a whole, but that may have been because I was so familiar with the story and songs. Given that there were no translations made available, nor any supertitles, and that a few key plot points were in Spanish, I have to wonder if someone new to the show would be able to fully appreciate the story. However, after a day when the bilingual nature (in fact, trilingual, when you throw Chinese into the mix) of our city was on full display, with the highlighting of the Spanish-speaking announcers and players in the parade and celebration of Los Gigantes, the updated musical seemed a fitting close to the day. Of course, as someone who daily works in multiple languages, I’m always eager to see new displays of mixed language use.
I got another pleasant surprise when it turned out that one of the Jets was none other than Neil Haskell, of So You Think You Can Dance fame. It was a good thing, as I hadn’t realized just how much dancing there actually was in this musical (having only known it through the movie version). And dancing was certainly the highlight here; although, as often seems to happen in San Francisco, the rustle-tussle of the gang fighting took on new meaning. Unavoidably, given the small orchestra, Bernstein’s lovely music got short shrift, which was a disappointment. But, all in all, it was an enjoyable, if a bit overly dramatic, show.