Customer Review

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enduring Masterpiece, June 6, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: West Side Story-The New Broadway Cast Recording (Audio CD)
I've yet to see this revival of "West Side Story," but if this beautifully produced, powerfully performed album is any indication, the show is as marvelous as everyone says it is. I have to admit that I'm one of those who's taken this landmark musical for granted over the years. "Oh yes, it's 'West Side Story,' been there done that." But listening to this CD, one is reminded WHY it's become a part of all of our lives since it's debut some 40 years ago. Perhaps there have been better sung versions, but I can't recall one that's made such a strong case for this work's continued validity. Chalk it up, certainly, to the combined genius of Sondheim and Bernstein, but also, this time around, to a young, vibrant cast that seems to have been born to play these roles. Simply put, Matt Cavenaugh and Josefina Scaglione ARE Tony and Maria. Regardless of what one may think of their voices (Cavenaugh's is a tad nasal, Scaglione's a bit thin at the top), the honesty, passion and intensity of the performances cannot be denied. Some here have found their spoken dialogue unconvincing, but I find it highly effective and touching, due in great part to the authenticity of Scaglione's accent. To hear her say how she'll never joke about love again is to relive one's memories of youthful longing and the ways in which one's first love defines all others. As for the supporting cast, it's uniformly terrific. Karen Olivo, as Anita, miraculously makes as strong an impression as have her predecessors, which is saying a lot.

Of course, the new Spanish lyrics are the big news here, and while I never found them a distraction, I'm not sure they serve as great a purpose as they were meant to. (Particularly when the Sharks, in the "Tonight" quintet, still sing the word "tonight" in English.) Perhaps it has more of an impact in live performance. That said, Lin-Manuel Miranda seems to have done a terrific, if not literal, translation. (Sondheim's only demand was that Miranda retain his rhyme schemes.) When Anita sings "cabron...Americano," it actually has more impact that simply "a boy like that..." Personally, I did find Tony's singing in Spanish during the finale a trifle politically correct; it's doubtful he would know enough of the language to do a spontaneous translation as he's dying. On the other hand, the decision to have a boy soprano sing "Somewhere" is an inspired one. Like so much else on this remarkably successful recording, it demands of us that we listen with new ears. For those willing to do so, the rewards will be immense; a very moving reminder of why "West Side Story" is going to be with us for as long as its source material.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 2, 2010 2:02:45 AM PST
Natmama says:
Anybodys is not a boy soprano; she's a tomboy who wants to be a Jet.

Posted on Aug 18, 2012 8:31:48 PM PDT
Luke says:
Saw the touring cast of this, not the Broadway production, but the Spanish was incredibly powerful in the show.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer

David Cady
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,451