"West Side Story" Is Smash Hit at Westchester Broadway Theatre

Published: Thursday, April 23, 2015 By: Jerry Eimbinder Source: PATCH

Audience shows its appreciation with standing ovation and thunderous applause.

The audience loved the newest arrival at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford and with good reason. On opening night, as the show came to its tragic ending on stage, approximately 500 attendees jumped to their feet with a thunderous burst of applause. Director Barry McNabb — take credit for a job so well done.

“West Side Story” is one of America’s great musical treasures. Many theater critics consider it one of the best musicals of all time. Entertainment Weekly in 2013 ranked it among the five best musicals to hit Broadway during the past 100 years.

It opened on Broadway on September 26, 1957 to high praise from the reviewers — despite that, it didn’t win the 1957 Tony for Best Musical. That honor went to Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man.

The 1961 motion picture version of West Side Story captured ten Academy Awards including Best Picture and was called “a cinema masterpiece” by Bosley Crowther of The New York Times.

Considering the prominent place that West Side Story occupies in both stage and screen history, staging a revival of it is a formidable challenge.

But Westchester Broadway Theatre was up to the task — it successfully brought this classic musical about ethnic gang warfare and young love to its Elmsford stage with a precise blending of music, song, energetic choreography, and colorful staging.

Gifted vocalists Carly Evans (Maria) and her tall co-star Zach Trimmer (Tony) perform admirably in this recreation of West Side Story as they participate, individually or together, in most of the show’s songs and action on stage.

The capable cast also includes Adam Soniak as Riff, Allison Thomas Lee as Anita, Brandon Contreras as Bernardo, Mike Boland playing both Doc and Officer Krupke, Xavier Reyes as Chino, Ed Romanoff as both Lt. Shrank and Gladhand, and Maggie McGrath as Anybody’s.

This musical was previously presented at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in 1998 and Barry McNabb, who had directed and choreographed that production, returned to head up the current production.

West Side Story will run at the Elmsford theater until July 5, 2015 — to be followed by Godspell beginning on July 9, 2015, and Backwards in High Heels (a musical based on the true-life story of Ginger Rogers) starting on August 26, 2015.

West Side Story was a collaboration effort by show business greats Leonard Bernstein (music), Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), Jerome Robbins (choreography), and Arthur Laurents (book). Its songs include Something’s Coming, Maria, America, Somewhere, Tonight, and I Feel Pretty.

Ticket prices range from $54 to $84 per person depending on the performance attended. Beverage service and tax are additional. The theater can accommodate 500 people including up to 80 in the luxury boxes.