Pattaya Daily News

05 October 2006 :: 09:10:19 am 5531

Broadway Musical “West Side Story” in Bangkok

Bangkok - The award-winning Broadway musical ‘West Side Story‘ ran for a record 734 shows at Broadway and this October this widely-acclaimed, melodramatic musical will be staged right here in Bangkok .
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It is not often that a Broadway musical is staged in Asia so when you hear of such an event one is not only intrigued but excited especially when it is to be staged in Bangkok . Let it be said, Bangkok has never been witness to ‘an original Broadway classic‘ but this October all that stands to change as the original Broadway cast takes to the stage at the Thailand Cultural Centre accompanied by a full orchestra! 

            This revival by Joey McKneely one of three directors worldwide who have the official rights from Robbins Rights Trust to produce the musical ‘as an original production of West Side Story‘ promises a spectacular the likes of which Bangkok has never seen before. And the setting will be truly amazing with ‘moving light equipment‘ worth one million US dollars and six 40-foot containers making their way to Bangkok with the sets. 

            It should be noted that McKneely has been nominated numerous times for the Tony Award and is also the choreographer of various Broadway shows like Smokey Joe‘s Cafe, The Life, Wild Party and The Boy From Oz. 

            To get back to the musical, West Side Story is all about: conflict teenage angst and racial tension. The setting is the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 1950s and the tale is a modern-day version of Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet but instead of feuding families, there are rival street gangs. 

            The play caught America ‘s attention and ran for 734 performances on Broadway, and, in 1961, was turned into an award-winning film (10 Oscars). 

            The plot is simple. Maria, who has just got off the boat from Puerto Rico is expected to marry Chino , a Puerto Rican boy, but instead falls in love with Tony, a Polish-American. And that is the beginning of the tragedy: Tony is one of the founders of the Jets, a street gang of white boys. Though Tony has moved away from the Jets and got a job he is still loyal to them. Maria‘s brother Bernardo on the other hand belongs to the Sharks a new gang of Puerto Rican boys threatening the Jets domination of the streets. And he of course won‘t let any Jet getaway with his sister. On the other hand the Jets are determined to hold on to their territory. 

            The innocent protagonists of the love affair are caught in a maelstrom of violence and conflicting ethnic and cultural backgrounds; and there‘s no escaping. 

            Jerome Robbins was the man behind the entire project and it took six years from when Robbins thought of a modern day Romeo & Juliet musical to actually presenting it on stage. Originally the story was conceived as a flare up between the Jews and Catholics during the Passover and Easter holidays and the setting was New York ‘s Lower East Side . 

            Then the gang warfare between Puerto Ricans and Americans in New York ‘s Upper West Side grabbed the headlines so the basis of conflict changed from religion to race and the show finally got on the road 

            Robbin‘s choreography was not only expressive but wild, Bernstein‘s music went from ballads to Latin-American rhythms and the dialogues reflected the street lingo with all its rawness. The musical was so popular that Hollywood inspired by it brought out a film version starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer in 1961. 

            Don‘t miss this musical for anything in the world. Besides pure entertainment, its message of tolerance and co-existence is certainly topical and transcends all cultures. 

            The show commences from October 10th -15th, in Main Hall of Thailand Cultural Center, Rachadapisek Road. Total performances 8 rounds. Showtime on week day at 19.30 hrs. Saturday and Sunday 2 rounds 14.30 & 19.30 hrs. Door open 30 minutes before show start. 

            Ticket price 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 & 5,000 Baht. 

            Ticket sale at: Thai Ticket Master Outlets tel: ++66 (0) 2262 3456 

            West Side Story is Sponsored by : Tourism Authority of Thailand & Supported by BMW, Dusit Thani Hotel, Thai Airways International, American Express, ITV Public Company Ltd, Bangkok Post and OK Magazine

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Entertainment News

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