Something's Coming, Something Good

I first saw the movie of West Side Story at a drive-in as a little girl, but that first time, tinny window speakers and all, was a love-at-first-sight moment. I hadn't seen many musicals at my then-tender age, but I knew immediately that it was radically different: Ruthlessly modern and unshyly ethnic and urban, it flew high, with its Romeo and Juliet meets Gangs of New York plot, riding on a Latin jazz beat. The songs grew out of a beautiful marriage between composer Leonard Bernstein and a young librettist named Stephen Sondheim, perfectly matched to the sharp, street-smart, groundbreaking choreography of Jerome Robbins. It was freaking brilliant from start to finish, and even I could already see that, hugging my pillow in the back seat of the old station wagon.

West Side Story has seen many revivals on Broadway and elsewhere since its 1957 debut, but the current one, which began rocking the Palace Theatre stage in 2009, updates the musical with a touch of bilingualism left out of the original. Based on the original direction of Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book West Side Story, this version remains true to the musical's classic core, and that's what you'll get when it opens tonight at 8 p.m. at the Buell Theatre, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The short two-week run, certain to be a holiday-season charmer, continues through New Year's Day; for showtimes and tickets, $25 and up, visit www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 17, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 18, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 19, 8 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 21, 2 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 24, 2 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 30, 2 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 1, 2 p.m. Starts: Dec. 13. Continues through Jan. 1, 2011

 
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