West Side Story Review Moonlight

West Side Story at Moonlight is a Knockout

It’s not that often you see show that literally takes your breath away. Moonlight Stage Productions‘ version of West Side Story, however, accomplishes this task with precision performances. The final moments of the show left those in the audience absolutely speechless.

I’ve enjoyed the shows at Moonlight for several years now and I yet it never ceases to amaze me that the quality of the shows continue to get better and better. I’ve always thought of their shows being top level but now they’re refining that even more. They really have found their groove, whether it be casting the right talent, the performers themselves, or the behind the scenes crews which pull all the pieces together and make things possible.

West Side Story Review Moonlight
“Tonight” Quintet Photo by Ken Jacques.

Steve Glaudini put together one special show that really does justice to this classic piece of musical theatre. West Side Story isn’t just a show with big numbers and fast dancing, it’s a show that begs the audience to put themselves in the shoes of the characters on stage, to look back at themselves and really think.

This musical is as relevant today as it was when it first was performed in 1957.

“What does it mean to be an American?” There are so many parallels in this show that we can look at in today’s world and think, “Sadly not much has changed.” Though its inspiring messages gives hope for a better tomorrow and leaves the audience with that heartfelt message.

West Side Story is inspired by Shakespeare’s love story Romeo and Juliet. The musical, with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; sets its story on the Upper West side during the 1950s.

The white vs. Puerto Rican gangs fighting over a single piece of turf. Introduced to the audience in “Prologue,” we first get a look at the incredible talent and dance skills of the cast assembled by Glaudini. It was at this moment I literally fell in love with the piece of art I was about to see.

West Side Story Review Moonlight
The Ballet Photo by Adriana Zuniga.

Our two leads first come to each other’s attention at a school dance. Tony (Michael James Byrne) first catches the attention of Maria (Bella Gil) and from that point it quite literally is love at first sight in “Tonight.” The first time their two voices come together is pure emotion, their voices are the perfect match, delivering the most beautiful harmonies. Despite falling in love quickly the two make you believe that they are truly are in love.

West Side Story Review Moonlight
Bella Gil is Maria and Michael James Byrne is Tony Photo by Ken Jacques.

Another one of my favorite numbers was Anita (Courtney Arango) in “America.” Joined by Rosalia (Milan Magaña) and the Shark Girls this is such an iconic song. It was great to see it performed on stage with such iconic choreography.

West Side Story Review Moonlight
“America” by Adriana Zuniga.

Steve Glaudini and Moonlight were lucky to have the opportunity to have Jerome Robbin’s choreography performed as only two people in the country are certified by his estate to reproduce it. Luckily, Hector Guerrero, one of two, was able to join up with the talented actors at Moonlight to bring the magic of dance alive.

West Side Story Review Moonlight
“Cool” Photo by Adriana Zuniga.

A strong supporting cast Bernardo (Armando Eleazar) will be making his upcoming Broadway debut in the revival of West Side Story in February 2020. San Diego favorite Ralph Johnson as Doc always a favorite and in this role he adds a bit of gravitas. Riff (Taylor Simmons) continues his run at performing in West Side Story having recently performed the show at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Atlanta Opera, Kansas City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Diego Musical Theatre.

This cast, crew, and musicians deliver an epic telling of West Side Story. If you have a chance to head up to Vista over the next two weeks, you should try and see this beautiful musical.

Moonlight Stage Productions “West Side Story”at the Moonlight Amphitheatre, runs through August 31 on select nights.

The Story

The creative team of Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents placed Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” on the gritty backstreets of New York City’s west side in the 50s where Tonyand Mariaseek a “somewhere” where their romance can survive in the midst of warring gangs and deep prejudice. Tony and Maria’s star-crossedsongs enrichevery scene, fromthe romance of “Maria” and “Tonight,” the exuberance of “America,” to the humor of “Gee, Officer Krupke.” Jerome Robbins’ legendary choreography will be re-created in this production by choreographer Hector Guerrero.

Cast and Crew in Moonlight’s The Producers

THE JETS

Riff, The Leader TAYLOR SIMMONS;Tony, His Friend MICHAEL JAMES BYRNE; Action MICHAEL WELLS; A-Rab JAKE BRADFORD; Baby John LUCAS BLANKENHORN; Snowboy CALVIN BRADY; Big Deal SIMONÉ SASSUDELLI; Diesel TREVOR REX; Gee-Tar MAX DeLOACH

THEIR GIRLS

Graziella DANIELLE AIREY; Velma DREW LAKE; Minnie KATIE MARSHALL; Clarice SARAH MORGAN; Anybodys LACEY BEEGUN

THE SHARKS

Bernardo, The Leader ARMANDO ELEAZAR; Maria, His Sister BELLA GIL; Anita, His Girl COURTNEY ARANGO; Chino, His Friend MARCOS ALEXANDER; Pepe TIMOTHY LEWIS; Indio SHAHIL PATEL; Luis WES DAMERON; Anxious ENRIQUE DUEÑAS; Nibbles AUGUSTO GUARDADO

THEIR GIRLS

Rosalia MILAN MAGAÑA; Consuelo MIKAYLA AGRELLA; Teresita ELISE GONSALVES; Francisca TATIANA MONIQUE ALVAREZ; Estela CARLY CANNATA

THE ADULTS

Doc RALPH JOHNSON; Schrank JOHNNY FLETCHER; Krupke DEVIN COLLINS; Gladhand JAYSEN WALLER

Directed by STEVEN GLAUDINI; Co-Music Director & Conductor ELAN McMAHAN; Co-Music Director RANDI ELLEN RUDOLPH; Original Choreography Reproduced by HECTOR GUERRERO; Sound Design by JIM ZADAI; Wig Design by PETER HERMAN; Makeup Design by KATHLEEN KENNA; Costume Design by DIXON REYNOLDS; Costumes Coordinated by CARLOTTA MALONEROSLYN LEHMAN, and RENETTA LLOYD; Properties Master BONNIE DURBEN; Stage Managed by JENNIFER L. MOODY; Scenic and Projection Design by ROBERT ANDREW KOVACH; Lighting Design by JENNIFER EDWARDS

Sets, Costumes, and Props Provided by MUSIC THEATRE WICHITA

West Side Story features a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Ticket Information

Single tickets for Moonlight Stage production of West Side Story range from $17 – $57. There are discounts for Seniors and Students and military.  For tickets contact The Moonlight Amphitheatre at 760-724-2110 or visit the Moonlight Stage Productions Ticket Website.

Schedule
August 14 -31, 2019
Gates open at 6:30 p.m.
Curtain at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $17 – $57.

Moonlight Amphitheater Location

The Moonlight Amphitheatre is located at 1200 Vale Terrace Dr, Vista, CA 92084
Take the Civic Center Drive and exit off Highway 78, go north. Turn right on E Vista Way. Turn right on Vale Terrace. Continue on Vale Terrace about 1/2 mile and turn left into Brengle Terrace Park.

Parking at Moonlight Amphitheatre

There is free parking available at Brengle Terrace Park. Shuttle service is available for those who end up parking in the upper grass lot. The shuttle will begin running 2.5 hours before the show starts as well as after the show.

For more information and tickets call The Moonlight Amphitheatre at 760-724-2110 or visit The Moonlight Stage Production website.

Moonlight Stage Production Season 2019

VICTOR/VICTORIA (September 11 – 28, 2019).

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