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Powerful ensemble group dance of West Side Story performed in 15 years

Powerful ensemble group dance of West Side Story performed in 15 years

Posted November. 24, 2022 07:49,   

Updated November. 24, 2022 07:49


The stage depicts the slums of Manhattan, New York. Polish gang, the Jets get into a fight with Puerto Rican gang the Sharks. Tony (a member of the Jets, played by Kim Junsoo, Park Kanghyun, and Ko Eun-seong) dances with Maria (played by Han Jae-a, Lee Ji-soo), the younger sister of Shark’s leader Bernado (played by Kim Chan-ho and Lim Jeong-mo) at a dance party put together by New York police. The story plays out as the couple fall in love.

Musical West Side Story, which opened last Thursday at the Chungmoo Art Center in Jung-gu, Seoul, will meet with Korean fans 15 years after performing in 2007. The original story of the musical, which was performed on Broadway New York for the first time in 1957, comes from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The Jets and the Sharks are modern versions of the Montagues and Capulets, while Tony and Maria play Romeo and Juliet.

West Side Story is also famous for the involvement of the best creators of the time. Arthur Laurents, who is well known for writing Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, wrote the script, and composer Leonard Bernstein, who led the golden age of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, wrote the music. Steven Sondheim, the original creator of the musical Sweeney Todd, wrote the lyrics. Jerome Robbins, named the second art director for the New York City Ballet, oversaw production and choreography.

The story depicts how love makes its way into the disputes, hatred, and rage between the two gangs. The love of Tony and Maria creates an enormous division that develops into a tragedy. The story follows that of Romeo and Juliet, but the songs and choreography add special uniqueness and flair. The outstanding singing performance of the actors, including Kim Jun-soo, Park Kang-hyun, and Kim So-hyang) deliver excellent rending of the songs. The music of the 20-person orchestra fills the performance hall.

Dance is critical in West Side Story, known as one of the first dance musicals. Even ensemble actors are assigned to perform their dances. The ensemble group dance of the Jets and the Sharks at the beginning of Act 1 is particularly breathtaking. The Jets donned in blue and the Sharks in red perform a group dance that is powerful and energizing. The dance resembles acrobatics and is performed in big and sophisticated movements. One regret is that the choreography is so demanding that they leave actors short of breath after the dance aired on the mike. The musical will be performed until Feb 26, 2023. Ticket prices are 70,000 to 160,000 won.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com