West Side Story

Posted on Jan 12, 2012


Last Saturday, I saw the stage production of West Side Story.  This was a pretty big deal for me.  West Side Story is tied with A Chorus Line (I saw this last year!) as my favorite musical.  I discovered the movie when I was 15 years old by renting it from the Multnomah County Library.  I remember forcing my friends to watch this musical which at 15 in 1990 wasn’t the most hip thing and my friends weren’t thrilled. I have always loved musicals, but something about this music and dancing just mesmerized me.



I found the record (as in vinyl) at a garage sale and wore that sucker out.  I was so worried about ruining the record, that I found a back up copy.  The songs are just so fun to sing to.  With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Steven Sondheim, the songs are incredible.



My favorite characters are Riff, played by the very dreamy Russ Tamblyn and Anita, played the incredible Rita Moreno.  For me, these two make the movie.  Especially after I learned that Natalie Wood’s voice is dubbed; she’s not actually singing.



My only experience with this story was the movie, until now.   I knew that the play would be a bit different and I had looked up the lyrics to each song, so I could still sing along to the slight word changes.  The play is much more risque!  While watching, I kept wishing that I could have had the opportunity to see Debbie Allen perform as Anita (this clip is her performing on the Today show in 1980).  The production I saw was very good, but Debbie Allen is a goddess.



I left the play last Saturday on a total high.  I’ve been listening to the album all week! I can’t stop. Everything about it makes me happy.

Dance at the Gym was always going to be my song choice for ice skating in the Olympics.  Yes, I’ve only ice skated a handful of times in my life and it kind of terrifies me.  Still in my dreams, I skate to this song.  :)



  1. We saw West Side Story a few years ago at the Gerding Theater. Jim actually asked me to get the tickets – he had always wanted to see it, too. We both loved it. Now you’ve made me want to watch the movie again.

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  2. Oh! I would have loved to see this play at the Gerding. I love that theater. I will definitely be re-watching the movie in the next week or so. :)

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  4. I saw WSS performed at my community college back in 1998 and it was so fantastic it kind of ruined the movie for me. As a student, my friend and I got one free ticket each. Well, we paid to go back two more times to see it, that’s how good it was. During the “there’s a place for us” scene they had some French exchange students perform ballet and it was such a dreamy sequence. I’ve never gotten over how great the play was.

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