On Stage

West Side Story

Of love and loss

See

What: West Side Story

Where: Lincoln Theatre, Mount Vernon

More:

WHEN: Feb. 8-23

Cost: $12-$25

Info: http://www.lincolntheatre.org

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Romeo and Juliet found and lost love—and their young lives—centuries before Tony and Maria became star-crossed soulmates in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, but audiences attending META Performing Arts’ upcoming production of West Side Story at the Lincoln Theatre can rest assured that the show’s director, Joe Bowen, knew what he was doing when he brought the adroit adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy to life.

One of the main reasons Bowen’s insights were intact is that he had previously helmed Romeo and Juliet: The Musical for META, so he knew what to look for when it came to telling the tragic tale to the masses.

The main difference in the two versions, he says, is the economy of language in West Side Story. In the Bard’s original narration, long and memorable speeches are the norm. But in the gangland battleground of Hell’s Kitchen, Tony (the founder of the Jets), Maria (the sister of the leader of rival gang the Sharks) and their friends and enemies communicate with far fewer words.

“The longest speech, if you can call it that, is only three or four sentences,” Bowen says.

The similarities, however, are many. Bowen reports that the book and lyrics of West Side Story written by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim are original to Shakespeare’s story structure, and he found himself organizing the scenes in exactly the same way he did for Romeo and Juliet.

“It’s an advantage,” he says. “It feels like you’ve done your homework. I use material from the original show to help the actors work on the inner monologues of their characters. The songs and dances take the place of the soliloquies.”

Via memorable hits such as “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty,” “Somewhere,” and “America,” the Tony Award-winning play that first opened on Broadway in 1957 delves into a world of hate, violence and prejudice, while still managing to earn the distinction of being one of the greatest love stories ever told.

“Tony and Maria remind us all of the best of who we were, who we are, and who we hope to be,” Bowen says when asked why he thinks the characters continue to resonate with audiences. “Shakespeare and Laurents/Bernstein/Sondheim were all going after the same thing: They wanted to make a thumping-good story, first and last. They wanted to entertain. Every time you see these shows, it feels like you’re drawing up your chair close to a master storyteller.”

A talented crew and a cast comprised of students from four counties and as many as seven high schools will bring authenticity to West Side Story, as will a large and talented sub-cast of Hispanic performers, local college talent and a few veteran performers taking on the adult roles.

“They all grasped the importance of this material and have pitched themselves into it with hearts and souls,” Bowen says. “It’s been so rewarding to watch. They play the worst of enemies onstage, and have become the best of friends off. I bet we could start production on a new Romeo and Juliet with these guys right after closing and make a darn good run of it.”

Alan Doyle
More On Stage...
History Hangouts
Anniversaries in action

I’d never given much thought to the twin-like similarities that exist between Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre and Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre until a serendipitous glance at the venues’ upcoming calendars tipped me off to the empirical evidence that’s been in front of my face for years.…

more »
Wester's World
Blue collar comedy in Edison

“Rural America Survivor” is one way Davey Wester describes himself on Twitter. Among other things, he also notes he’s a standup comedian based in Hollywood, past Comedy Store regular, and frequent podcast guest.

Onstage, Wester is a little more blunt (OK, a lot more blunt).

“I’m a…

more »
Drag Brunch
Queen for a day

It felt counterintuitive to walk into Rumors Cabaret before noon, but I’d procured tickets for a Drag Brunch that featured a morning repast and the chance to hang out with famous people, so I felt it was wise to ignore the clock and see what happened when I spent a day at the nightclub.

My…

more »
Events
Today
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Robin Hood, a Musical

7:00pm|Sedro-Woolley High School

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Unstable By Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Spring Book Sale

10:00am|Deming Library

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

SPA Talk with Bradley James Lockhart

2:30pm|St. Paul's Academy

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

First Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Poetry Party

5:00pm|Upper Skagit Library

Building Dreams Dinner and Auction

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Raise the Roof Auction and Trashion Show

5:30pm|Depot Market Square

North Cascades Community Orchestra

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Robin Hood, a Musical

7:00pm|Sedro-Woolley High School

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Unstable By Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Dealer Demo Day

9:00am|Fanatik Bike Co.

Everson Garden Club Plant Sale

9:00am|Everson Elementary School

Have a Heart Family Fun Run

9:00am|Edgewater Park

Anacortes Vintage by the Sea

9:00am|Anacortes Port Transit Event Center

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

Independent Bookstore Day

9:00am|Village Books

Rise Against Hunger

9:00am| St. Luke's Community Health Education Center

Seedlings, Starts and Garden Goodies Swap and Giveaway

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Backyard Habitat Native Flora Fair

10:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

WoodFest

10:00am|Sedro-Woolley High School

Contemplative Brush and Japanese Washi Papers

10:00am|Blaine Harbor Center

Local Author/Illustrator Open House

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Dia de los niños/Dia de los libros

10:00am|Lynden Library

We Are Skookum Scavenger Hunt

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Dakota Art Store Anniversary Art Expo

10:00am|Dakota Art Store

Vaisakhi Festival

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Tomato Growing Tips and Tricks

11:00am|Joe's Gardens

Getting Your Hand Dirty

11:00am|North Fork Library

The Greatest Sideshow in Sedro-Woolley

12:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Learn to Grow Fruit Trees

1:30pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Little Farm Homegrown

2:00pm|Everson Library

Garage Wine Company Tasting

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Sudden Valley Jazz Series

3:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Interwoven Lives

4:00pm|Village Books

FiberFest

4:00pm|Maple Hall

April Brews Day

6:30pm|Depot Market Square

Guemes Island gets lit

6:30pm

Contra Dance with Heliotrope

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Poetry Duo

7:00pm|Village Books

Swing Into Spring

7:00pm|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Bellingham Community Band's Appalachian Spring

7:00pm|Syre Center

Jennifer Scott, Rene Worst, and Bill Coon

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Skagit Valley Chorale's American Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Artrageous

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Trove Web Village Books
Sunday
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

WoodFest

10:00am|Sedro-Woolley High School

We Are Skookum Scavenger Hunt

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Contemplative Brush and Japanese Washi Papers

10:00am|Blaine Harbor Center

FiberFest

4:00pm|Maple Hall

Skagit Valley Chorale's American Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Brews Brunch

9:00am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Parkscriptions Day

9:30am|Throughout Whatcom County

Great Lego Build-Off

10:00am|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Dirty Dan Harris Festival

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Mitzvah Day Used Book Sale

10:30am|Congregation Beth Israel

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Easter Brunch at Semiahmoo Resort

11:00am|Semiahmoo Resort

Bellingham Handmade Market

11:00am|Goods Nursery and Produce

Coffee with Local Artists

12:30pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Books by the Bay Book Festival

1:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Allegro Strings Benefit

3:00pm|Greene's Corner

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

3:00pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|Church House

Sinful Sunday

8:30pm|Wild Buffalo

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Neil Berg Trove Web Village Books