'West Side' is hot commodity

Beth Colcord

All was hot in Glendale this past week as The Stepping Stone Players

presented the musical "West Side Story" in Hoover High School's

steamy auditorium where both the actors and audience worked up a

sweat.

The story, based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," tells the

tale of two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, as they taunt each

other while vying for ownership of a small stretch of street

territory.

This is a story told also mainly through dance and I thought the

choreography in this production shone. The actors with lesser parts

were the top-notch dancers, except for Linda Campo, who had a lead

role as Anita and Bonnie McMahan who played Velma and who were both

just as good at dancing as acting or singing.

Patrick Tiller, who played the love-struck Tony, was a fabulous

singer and made me wish his part had more singing solos. Another

strong performer, Carina Morales, captured the innocent love of Maria

superbly and had a voice to match Tiller's. And I have to mention

Michael Abramson, who nearly stole the show with the great acting

energy he put into his character Action.

The "West Side Story" orchestra played the familiar songs with no

orchestra pit, so the music and musicians were close and hard to

ignore. This made every sour note by the horns that much harder to

bear but the percussion section managed to rock the house and left

everyone dancing as they departed.

This is a hardworking community theater group that had wonderful

stage sets, fun costumes and a cast that put on a fun and poignant

show.

Someone needs to give them a break and provide them with a cooler

venue so more of us in the Glendale area could benefit from their

excellent productions.

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