Letter: Go see ‘West Side Story’

Juneau Empire – February 28, 2017

I am writing to alert the Juneau community about West Side Story, one of the best theater productions that I have seen in Juneau in over 31 years of living here.

A production of the Orpheus Project and Juneau Dance Theater, they pulled off an incredible effort of one of the most difficult musicals and one that conductor William Todd Hunt called the “greatest work of American musical theater.” Most impressive is the incredible choreography that creates a visual feast of color and movement.

This musical is probably the one that most relies on dance to tell its story based on Romeo and Juliet. The Amalga Chamber Orchestra was solid in presenting the incredible score with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The scene director Julia O’Conner moved the actors well to provide another visual treat. The leads Jess Skiba as Maria and Gilad Paz as Tony were outstanding.

I also single out Taylor Vidic as Riff, Alisha Falberg as Anita, Nathan Buendia as Bernardo and Lauren McDowell as Anybodys for contributing memorable performances, but the rest of the cast were also great. Todd deserves special recognition for having the nerve of doing this amazing but difficult musical and the vision to know that Juneau could do this production. The auditorium of JDHS was only about half full for the production I saw on Sunday afternoon. Don’t miss out on attending this superb achievement. Last chances are Friday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the normal outlets.

Terry Quinn


photo by Cam Byrnes