Taking on an iconic musical like West Side Story is no easy task; but that’s exactly what the Paramount Theater decided to do for their finale this season.
For the cast, crew, choreographer and everyone involved this was a bucket list opportunity.
“It is a tremendous opportunity, anybody who is into directing musical theater hopes someday to get their hands on “West Side Story.” It’s been a part of my life since I was a kid,” said Director, Jim Corti.
But Corti didn’t want this to be the same as every other production of “West Side Story,” and so he changed one of the most recognizable components to the musical: the choreography.
“The reason Jim wanted all new choreography is because he and this theater company are very much committed to conveying this story to an audience in 2016,” said Choreographer, William Carlos Angulo.
With similar racial tension in our world today, Corti wanted this production to feel very real.
To convey the story of Tony, Maria, the Sharks and the Jets, Corti and crew enlisted 23 fresh faces to hit the Paramount stage, including Anthony Sullivan, a graduate of Neuqua Valley High School.
Sullivan portrays the role of Chino in Paramount’s “West Side Story”.
“My character is always in the shadows, he’s kind of second in command when it comes to the Sharks and he looks up to Bernardo. So he is always in a shadow he just doesn’t know how to be in the forefront himself or how to take control and he unfortunately learns how to take control and that is what “West Side Story” is all about,” he said.
Corti encouraged cast members to focus on their own character’s individual identity in an effort for the story to be told in a very realistic way.
“Your story should be about you – if we were to pin point any actor on that stage we should be able to see what you’re going through, what part of the story do you serve for “West Side Story,” Sullivan said.
It’s an effort that has paid off for all involved at the Paramount’s production of “West Side Story” with rave reviews coming in.
Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale reports.
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