We need to discuss the hotness of ‘West Side Story’ on Broadway

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There are a few unusual details to mention about the 2020 Broadway revival of West Side Story. First: much of the show takes place off-stage, or crammed into tiny on-stage sets that block the view from the audience. These scenes are broadcast on giant overhead screens, via camera operators who follow the actors as if the cameras are part of the cast. It is odd at first, but it works. And this means the cheap seats are definitely the way to see this show, because those screens are huge.

Second: it rains on-stage throughout much of the show. The actors dance, fight, and otherwise roll around while very wet, usually doing so while shirtless. The gang fight scenes are sexier than a Turkish oil wrestling tournament. But more on that later.

Related: Check out these 5 super-gay shows

 
 
 
 
 
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Backstage at ‘West Side Story’ on Broadway
(photo by show’s photographer)

This is not the West Side Story that Grandma watched in the 1960’s when she was a little girl, and she wanted everybody to call her Maria. This West Side Story is dark, confrontational, and socially relevant; at times it is legitimately upsetting, especiall the scene that can’t be explained here because it is a major plot spoiler (it’s the scene when Anita goes back to find Tony with the special message).

The song “I Feel Pretty” was cut to save time (there is no intermission), and also apparently because it was simply too happy to fit into the moody vibe. The dancing was also scaled back to feature some unremarkable ballet sequences, which is a shame, because there are dancers from the New York City Ballet in the cast. But the singing is amazing, truly amazing, thanks in particular to the leads Isaac Powell and Shereen Pimentel, who play Tony and Maria. Listening to the songs is a pleasure, and the music breaks up the on-stage angst. And not only the leads, but the entire cast is really, really good.

On the subject of the cast, who are so often wet and shirtless: things get very sexy on that stage, including a few glimpses of some guy-on-guy dancing and an embrace here and there. Gay chorus dancers? Shirtless gang fights? Grandma would not recognize this West Side Story, but she would probably like it.

Let’s meet some members of the cast, shall we?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Isaac Powell, “Tony”

   

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Another photo of Isaac Cole Powell, ‘Tony’

   

Roman Cruz, Dance Captain

Marc Crousillat, “Juano”

 
 
 
 
 
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Jarred Manista, Swing

   

 
 
 
 
 
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Kevin Csolak, “A-Rab”

   

Dharon E. Jones, “Riff”

 
 
 
 
 
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Carlos E. Gonzalez, “Pepe”

  

 
 
 
 
 
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Kevin Zambrano, “Moose”

  

Sheldon True, “Toro”

 
 
 
 
 
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Armando Eleazar, Swing

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Paul Morland, Swing, Fight Captain

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