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West Side Story (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | June 19, 2012 | 2 Comments

5 stars

There are two street gangs: the Jets (the Americans) and the Sharks (the Puerto Ricans). Two young teens are in love: Tony and Maria. But there’s one problem. They are from different families and both families/gangs will not allow them to be together. As the two gang’s rivalry gets bigger and bigger tragedy ensues.

What a wonderfully delightful and yet incredibly heartbreaking epic musical. If you haven’t seen and you’re a fan of musicals, Shakespeare, and/or if you’re in existence on the universe do yourself a favor and watch West Side Story. It’s a joy. Not only because of the insanely catchy songs like America, Maria, Cool, I Feel Pretty, Jet Song (“when you’re a Jet”), and wordless tunes like Overture and Prologue. Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics are great and while listening to the Overture set against the credits featuring the legendary Saul Bass’s titles, it’s obvious that this is a masterpiece.Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliette was and still is a wonderful play. However this 60’s film version sets the tragedy to jump-up-and-dance music. However that doesn’t mean the play is sugared down. It’s certainly not: the Sharks and Jets constantly battle in hopes to claim their side of the street. And yet, when the final “rumble” comes… no I won’t spoil the movie here, but if you haven’t heard of Romeo and Juliette you have some dangerously serious catching up to do. For any  incredibly serious thespians, a musical of the very serious play might not sound like a great idea, but it certainly works. And while it “works” it becomes a classic.

My favorite character is Tony because Richard Beymer has a lively voice and in the climax moral questions are raised because of Tony’s actions.

My favorite scene is a tie between the opening scene because the snapping fingers and whistling give the scene so much suspense… and then the dancing comes and it’s amazing. My other favorite scene is when Rita Moreno leads some of the Puerto Ricans in singing America because the song is fun and has real meaning.

West Side Story will be remembered as a timeless classic. Long live this deliriously sung musical with nail biting action.