WEST SIDE STORY; Hale Center Theater Orem; 7:30 p.m. nightly through April 3, except Sunday; tickets available by calling 226-8600; running time, two hours 30 minutes with one 15-minute intermission

OREM — The songs and dance numbers in "West Side Story" are so well known, so indelibly printed on the brains of us who first saw it in theaters in the '60s that it's almost scary to go see the modern-day stage play.

But bless the musical director and the Monday-Wednesday-Friday cast with their remarkable voices, there is no disappointment in Hale Center's production.

The vocals are flawless.

Rachel Lynn Woodward as Maria hits all her notes perfectly with remarkable poise.

Brad Mcomber does the same as Tony.

The duet between Maria and Anita, played by Stacia Hardy, is a keeper.

Bernardo, played by Jaymz Tuaileva, is perfect for the part.

In fact, every member of the cast sings, dances and acts very well and replicates the mood made famous when this "Romeo and Juliet" (in Manhattan) story first hit Broadway.

And the dance sequences are well done, despite the limitations of the very small stage.

Clever choreography and some serious planning saves this show from turning into a melee of bodies as the scenes move from a crowded gym to a rooftop to the streets.

There's also some nice direction evident, because the transitions from dialogue into songs are seamless, and there's a good sense of rhythm throughout. Timing and delivery are right on.

There were a couple of slip-ups Monday — a divan broke under the weight of the Puerto Rican ladies, a heel got caught in a chiffon skirt, and several times the curtains blocking the view of the lobby weren't pulled when they should have been — but the energy and heart makes up for those moments.

Anybodys, played by Nikki Bohne, is a little over the top. Officer Krupke, played by Scott M. Healy, is a bit wooden and Doc, played by Jerry Elison, is not wearing the hairdo of the time, but overall, it's a worthy production.

It moves along.

It's colorful, interesting and intense.


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