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A New "West Side Story" Arrives in Massachusetts

The excellent regional theater Barrington Stage Company presents a version with a cast full of young talent and a dance master behind the scenes.

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Lately, it can seem as if not a day goes by without news of some new take on West Side Story being produced. Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner are in the midst of casting a much-anticipated big-screen remake. Ivo van Hove, the Belgian avant-garde director of the moment, will bring his no doubt singular vision of the musical to Broadway next December, with the help of choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. And as the Leonard Bernstein centennial year rolls on, concert productions have proliferated around the country, from the Kennedy Center to Boston’s Symphony Hall and beyond.

That’s, of course, no cause for great worry—the American masterpiece musical by Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents is a never-ending well of inspiration and relevance. Still, a well-done and straightforward production of such an unimpeachable work is often more powerful than any number of reinterpretations—and that’s just what’s on offer this month at Barrington Stage Company.

The excellent regional theater–a Berkshires gem that’s basically an off-Broadway house, and is, in fact, where plenty of Broadway productions begin–presents a West Side with a cast full of young talent and, best of all, a dance master behind the scenes. Robert La Fosse, a New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater veteran, will reproduce Jerome Robbins’ original, iconic choreography. And he should know what he’s doing: LaFosse worked closely with Robbins at City Ballet and was himself nominated for a Tony for his role in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union St.

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