‘West Side Story’ at the Orpheum

Last Wednesday afternoon Thom, my mom, my aunt, and I went to see West Side Story at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. It’s one of those shows that, despite its very familiar story, still gets me a little emotional after all these years. This was a strong production, especially the dancing, which for me is the most enjoyable part of West Side Story.

This new production includes a lot of Spanish, which I think gives some of the Puerto Rican characters’ dialogue and songs more fluidity and immediacy. I understood most of it, gracias to my high-school Spanish. And where the Spanish was less than understandable to me, it actually gave the songs a lofty, operatic feeling, like in “A Boy Like That”/”I Have a Love.”

The orchestra was conducted by our friend Jeff’s partner, John; we first met them a couple of years ago through another Jeff (how many gay Jeffs do you know?), when John was in town to conduct A Chorus Line. Random side note for fellow So You Think You Can Dance fans: the cast we saw included Season 3 finalist Neil Haskell as one of the Jets.

After the performance Thom, the sisters P., and I had dinner at nearby Soluna, an excellent, convenient place for a drink or bite after a matinee or before an evening show at the Orpheum. Thanks to my mom for suggesting the family theater outing!

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