Review: West Side Story at LaComedia

BY: Michael Woody
last updated 04/04/2024
Review: West Side Story at LaComedia

Mike Woody reviews West Side Story, now through May 5 at La Comedia Dinner Theatre in Springboro

Review: West Side Story at LaComedia

Much like a full lunar eclipse, a musical like West Side Story only comes along once in a lifetime. While the eclipse will last for just over three minutes and requires special (unfashionable) glasses, West Side Story is two plus hours of compelling drama with beautiful music and at La Comedia includes delicious food too.  Darkness sets upon us on a daily basis, but a rumble between the Jets and the Sharks is worth the hype. Personally, I don’t get all the excitement over the eclipse, and find West Side Story to be more worth watching.

West Side Story classic Broadway musical La Comedia Dinner Theatre

A talented cast from all around the country was assembled for the production. The plot centers on the forbidden romance between Tony & Maria, each of which is associated with rival gangs. Marco Giacona gives a heart wrenching performance as Tony, while contributing a splendid singing voice.

How do you solve a problem like Maria? Oh, wrong Maria. Rather than hills, the streets of New York City are alive with the shouts of “Maria” (Stephanie Garcia). Garcia makes it believable that Tony would risk so much for her affection.

 The Jets are led by Riff (Baylor Browning), whose voice is as sharp as a switchblade. Browning is a rare breed as capable of being captain of a glee club as he is a lethal street gang. The Jets also include Diesel (Allyn Bessee), Action (Jordan Thomas Burnett), Baby Jarrett R. Crowthers) and Snowboy (Riley Vogel).

 The leader of the Sharks is Bernardo (Elihu Guerrero), who is followed by Pepe (Luka Ashley Carter), Luis (Anthony J. Contreras), Quique (M. Javi Harnly) Indio (Marco Puente) and Chino (Kyle Vasquez. 

 A show stealing performance is given by Tina DeAlderete as Anita. Her stage presence is captivating and she’s a delight to watch as Bernardo’s girlfriend with a fierce attitude.

Strong supporting performances were also given by Ed Iverson as the detective. The always reliable Mark Reuter continues his string of standout roles as the wise shopkeeper, Doc.. Furthermore, the versatile Colin Cranstoun   serves as officer Krupke and Laurel Dobrozsi shows a lot of commitment to her role as Anybody, a girl hopeful of becoming a Jet. 

 A strength of West Side Story is its music, featuring several songs which have become well known, such as ‘Tonight’, ‘America’, and ‘I Feel Pretty’. Other standouts is a moving rendition of ‘Somewhere’ and the Jets really sore during ‘Gee, Officer Krupke.” 

The set is also well constructed and Geoffrey D. Fishburn (Lighting Design) illuminates all the action perfectly, avoiding any full eclipses. Once again, the buffet offers a variety of tasty sensations, including more new entrees. I was especially fond of the Lemon Garlic Parmesan Linguine and the Sweet and Sour Chicken. 

Don’t be left in the dark, like during the eclipse, by missing West Side Story. Though no special glasses are needed, a tissue is suggested for the highly emotional ending. 

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