West Side Story (Review)

West Side Story

(Critique en français : Cliquez ici)

Book: Arthur LAURENTS

Music: Leonard BERNSTEIN

Lyrics: Stephen SONDHEIM

Original direction et Choreography: Jerome ROBBINS

Direction: Lonny PRICE

Choreographer: Julio MONGE

Musical supervisor and conductor: Grant STURIALE

Set design:  Anna LOUIZOS

Costume design: Alejo VIETTI

Light design: Fabrice KEBOUR 

Sound design: Tom MARSHALL


Until 31 december 2023

At Théâtre du Châtelet – Paris


Director Lonny PRICE presents a new version of West Side Story. And what a version it is! The opening, with its hallucinatory choreography that’s as risky as it is masterful, is a real eye-opener! Of course, West Side Story‘s signature finger snapping is preserved in this frenzied ballet, but where it really impresses is in the confrontations, which combine fighting and dancing in perfect harmony. Throughout the show, the dance scenes never fail to delight. This talent culminates in the surprising Somewhere. A surprise that lies not only in the dancing, but in the scene as a whole. It blends the different arts of the stage in an unheard-of beauty that foreshadows the drama to come.

Musically, the score is occasionally revisited. A subtle revisit that in no way shocks. As in Somewhere, we often find requiem-like bars that also hint at the epilogue to come. However, the humorous note of the song Gee, Officer Krupke has not been neglected. It’s a funny moment, but still in keeping with the technicality the troupe has convinced us of from the start.

We regret the absence of the boys on America and the new interpretation of them. We lose credibility, but above all volume. The stage is not busy enough. What’s more, for a musical as sexualized as West Side Story, we’re perplexed. Especially as the show is pumped up with testosterone on the Sharks and Jets sides. On the other hand, the girls are not left out and always have something to say. This is true of the two female leads, Melanie SIERRA (Maria) and Kyra SORCE (Anita). The new direction has gone to great lengths to highlight the evolution of their feelings and resentments. Another success! Add to this the fact that each of them fetches the notes from the depths of her heart, making the audience empathetic time and again.

As for the exhilarating Jadon WEBSTER (Tony), it’s another approach that can only be applauded: he’s a world away from the other boys in the cast. In spite of his stature, he doesn’t show strength, but rather admirable gentleness. As admirable as his interpretation of Maria. Unquestionably the finest performance of the show!

None of the aforementioned leads, nor the others, Antony SANCHEZ (Bernardo) and Taylor HARLEY (Riff), showed the slightest weakness in any discipline. In musicals, the main roles are often less involved in dance, but here, whether in dancing, singing or acting, the precision is phenomenal.

The sound effects applied to the voices add beauty and realism to the sung narration.

As for the set, we’re no longer content with a straight street framed by New York’s typical fire escapes stairs. The latter, so emblematic of West Side Story right down to the posters, are of course still present, but on three-dimensional sets in which the various locations are brought to life with fluidity thanks to the set. No big machinery! Here too, the sets are choreographed to perfection. The modules play on forced perspectives to give the buildings more height. The angles are also carefully worked out.

With a staging that puts everyone where they belong, Lonny PRICE has no trouble reconciling West Side Story fans and those who didn’t appreciate it. A West Side Story of the highest order!



Trouble is brewing on New York’s Upper West Side: Rival street gangs, heated rhythms, a bitter feud and, in the midst of it all, a great love fighting but tragically failing to overcome the obstacles standing in its way. Allow yourself to be swept away by a thrilling new production of West Side Story, a re-make of the iconic classic for a new era. Embarking on a world tour in late 2022, it is set to capture the hearts of audiences all over the globe.

Maria, Somewhere, America– Leonard Bernstein’s immortal melodies and Jerome Robbins’ phenomenal choreography redefined an entire genre. To this day, West Side Story is the undisputed No. 1 of classic musicals: daring, relevant and radical. Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film version of 2021 proves just how unique and timeless it is.

Credit : Johan PERSSON






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