I saw the new Broadway production on Friday. It’s still in previews, so I won’t go too deep into the nuts and bolts of it all, not that I do reviews anyway. But since I’ve been talking about it forever, I figured I should give you a little glimpse at what I thought. If you’re planning to see the shows, there are things you should know:
1. Karen Olivo is officially a massive effing star.
1a. Anita might just be one of the greatest roles in theater history. Still, Karen tears it up.
2. Josefina Scaglione’s voice is pretty damn remarkable.
2a. Her accent is decidely Argentine, if that sort of thing matters to you.
2b. There are moments when Josefina and Matt Cavenaugh sound unbelievably beautiful together.
2b1. Those moments are especially lovely when they are singing into each others’ mouths. Literally.
3. The guys are, as is often the case with this show I think, not as exciting as the women, at least for my tastes.
3a. Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think it is.
3a1. The Sharks wear purple, which is fine, other than Bernardo’s shirt, which is a very bright purple and more than a little flashy.
3a2. Bernardo’s hair is also kind of hilarious.
4. The dancing, not surprisingly, is top-notch.
4a. The dream ballet has its moments.
4b. Somewhere has a twist on it. I’m not sure how I felt about it.
4b1. I’m pretty sure I didn’t like it, but that might just be because I have my film-based expectations.
4b1a. Oh yeah–if you’ve got film-based expectations, be prepared for some sadness and/or confusion.
4b1b. The production follows the original stage version, not surprisingly.
4b1c. Which means that Cool and Krupke are in different places than you expect them.
4b1c1. Which is kind of a problem.
4b1d. It also means that I Feel Pretty takes place in a different setting than in the movie.
4b1d1. And Anita’s not in it.
4b1d2. It’s also completely in Spanish, which added some cute moments (and I don’t know who the other main woman in that number is, but goodness. She should be in everything. She’s nice. I think she’s Kat Nejat. I like her.), but ultimately wasn’t a gigantic improvement, let’s say.
4b1e. It ALSO means that the Sharks aren’t part of America. It’s all ladies.
4b1e1. This represents a large problem for me personally. Half the fun of America in the movie is the battle of the sexes.
And my outline has now confused me.
Here’s my bottom line non-review review: I liked it. I did. I didn’t love it. I wanted to love it. I had it built up in my head though, so I’m sure it could never live up to the expectations. My parents liked it, didn’t love it. They said they wouldn’t see it again; I probably will once it’s open. It’s hard to judge a show during its fourth preview, especially a monster of a show like this one, but still — the basic outline is certainly there, and it’s hard to say that this is an absolute success.
Then again, I hated Laurents’s production of Gypsy, and look how that turned out.