Set in New York City during the 1950s, Arthur Laurent’s story of love and gang violence is told through stunning choreography and original music. Local audiences can see Troika Entertainment’s traveling show Thursday to Sunday at 8 p.m., with special matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“‘West Side Story’ remains Broadway’s best dance-driven musical,” the Associated Press said. “Five decades have not dimmed the extraordinary choreography or the score that pulsates throughout.”
Just like Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” “West Side Story” features two lovers, Maria and Tony, who are torn between two warring factions. The Jets, second-generation Polish teens, and the Sharks, Puerto Rican immigrants, have turf to defend on the gritty streets of New York. Their war reaches new heights when Jets leader Riff, played by Theo Lencicki, challenges Sharks leader Bernardo to a ‘winner-take-all’ rumble. But Riff’s pal Tony, who has been growing away from the gang, tries to stop the fighting out of love for Maria, Bernardo’s sister. What follows is a battle for control of the streets while Maria and Tony’s love seeks to endure. The musical is presented with an original score and of course, lots and lots of dancing.
Lencicki, of New York, beat out hundreds of other candidates for the role of Riff and says that getting the part was a dream come true.
“This is the first big national role on a Broadway national tour I have played. It is — first of all — a dream role to play,” Lencicki said. “‘West Side Story’ is one of the most classic musicals. It really encompasses everything a musical theater performer could want. It’s very rewarding.”
While written in the 1950’s, Laurent’s poignant musical still resonates with audiences, Lencicki said, making for a timeless saga. It is about “love that can survive in the world of hate. On one side is the world of gangs. On the flip side is the world of love,” Lencicki said.
The cast is performing the original Broadway production by choreographer Jerome Robbins, Lencicki said.
Audiences may recognize a collection of classic songs including “Jet Song,” “Tonight,” “America,” “Maria,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.”
“People should come because it is one of the most classic pieces in American musical theater,” Lencicki said. “It is an enjoyable experience and an important experience as well. The performers are of Latino and Spanish descent so it’s authentic as well. All the scene work is exceptional.”
The performers are looking forward to the Cobb Energy Centre show.
“I know a lot of the cast are very excited to get to Georgia and perform for the audience,” Lencicki said.
Tickets are $17 to $60, plus applicable fees. Tickets may be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or at the Bank of North Georgia Box Office at Cobb Energy Centre.