REVIEW (Pulp): Encore Theatre’s ‘West Side Story’ looks slick, and feels a bit too timely

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The cast of Encore Theatre’s “West Side Story.” (Photo by Michele Anliker Photography)

Not all that long ago, West Side Story seemed kind of quaint.

We’d all watch this classic, 1950s stage musical twist on Romeo and Juliet, built on the talent of four iconic artists (Jerome Robbins, concept; Arthur Laurents, book; Leonard Bernstein, music; Stephen Sondheim, lyrics), and think, “So many of the characters in this story are openly, unapologetically racist and anti-immigrant! I’m so glad we’ve evolved from this.”

Cut to the recent travel ban; and campaign promises about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; and white supremacists proudly marching in Charlottesville last summer; and the U.S.’s short-lived, limited aid for American citizens living in Puerto Rico, following Hurricane Maria last fall; and the children of detained migrant families being separated from their parents.

So “West Side Story” — playing through August 12 at Dexter’s Encore Theatre — which had always felt a little dated to me, seems almost unnervingly timely now. READ THE REST HERE

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