Cast members perform a number from the classic Broadway musical "West Side Story." The show is coming to the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center on Nov. 19 and 20.
Dancers perform in a scene from the Broadway hit "West Side Story." The show is based on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and tells the story of Tony and Maria, young lovers who attempt to overcome the intolerance bred by rival street gangs in New York City.
“West Side Story” isn’t the typical cheery musical — both acts end with bodies on the stage — and that’s one of the reasons it has remained an audience favorite for more than 50 years.
“West Side Story” tells the tale of young lovers Maria and Tony, whose attempts to overcome the intolerance surrounding them in New York’s Upper West Side are doomed from the start. Maria’s brother Bernardo is the leader of a Puerto Rican gang called the Sharks, while Tony is a member of their rivals, the Jets.
Andres Acosta, who plays the role of Bernardo, said “West Side Story” remains a hit because it retells a classic love story — William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” — in an honest way.
“This show appeals to everyone because it has universal themes like love and heartbreak and death,” he said. “It’s very real and it’s very honest for sure, and I think that sets it apart from a lot of musicals that are going on today.”
Colombia-born Acosta said his role required extensive physical preparation, including ballet training. The precision of Jerome Robbins’ choreography didn’t allow much room for the performers to add their own interpretations, but made for a cleaner-looking show, Acosta said.
And Acosta believes that both the choreography and Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s modern score have helped the musical, which first debuted on Broadway in 1957, withstand the test of time.
“All of those elements make this show stand out to me as one of the most brilliant pieces of musical theater history,” he said.
The Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center will host two performances of “West Side Story” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20. Tickets cost $35, $48, and $58 and may be purchased by calling the box office (number) or online at www.thecarsoncenter.org. The Carson Center Box Office, 100 Kentucky Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Due to strong language, violence, and sensitive subject matter, the performance is recommended for ages 13 and older.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.
Want to go?
What: “West Side Story”
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20.
Where: Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, 100 Kentucky Ave.
Tickets cost $35, $48, and $58 and may be purchased by calling the box office, 270-450-4444, or at thecarsoncenter.org