west side story

Photo courtesy Joan Marcus.

Jerome Robbins’s choreography translates well anywhere.

Here come the Jets: The Broadway revival of West Side Story snaps, kicks, and Krupkes its way into Seattle this weekend, but not without some added drama. When the show first (re)opened in New York in 2009, critics and purists had mixed reviews about its new bilingual score and book by Arthur Laurents (with the blessing of Stephen Sondheim). Maria sang “Me Siento Hermosa” instead of “I Feel Pretty,” and the Sharks rumbled and jeered predominantly in Spanish. The production has since pulled back on some of the translation, from 18 percent of the dialogue and lyrics in Spanish to 10 percent, director David Saint recently told The Seattle Times. And after attending opening night in Seattle, I can say that what I lost in translation was minimal—nothing I couldn’t infer from repeated viewings of the movie and musical. The show feels authentic, grittier, more sexual, though the thugs are still too pretty. It’s a 21st-century West Side Story that’s carried by Jerome Robbins’s timeless choreography.

West Side Story
Paramount Theatre, through Jan 15