|Michael Schauble and Karylin Veres|
Photo by Jessica Cole
"Scottsdale Musical Theater Company's recent production of West Side Story proved to be one of the best productions I've seen presented by this company. With talented leads, a great ensemble, and impressive production elements, it was an excellent presentation of the classic musical.
Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, West Side Story has the perfect combination of drama, music and dance with some of the most well-known, and beloved, theatre songs. ...West Side Story has a message about how love, acceptance and understanding can help rival groups find a common ground that still resonates sixty years since originally premiering....SMTC's cast was led by Michael Schauble as Tony and Karylin Veres as Maria. Both exhibited superb singing voices that instilled every note of their songs with clarity and meaning. They also created appropriately anxious, enthusiastic and realistic characters who are excited about the prospects of their new-found relationship. As Anita, Brielle Amrein was a firecracker, as she projected a raw naturalness to the authoritative part but also showed hints of compassion underneath. There wasn't a weak link in the supporting cast or large ensemble, with Cole Brackney and Rob Allocca as, respectively, Riff, the Jets' leader, and Bernardo, projecting the appropriate heightened sense of anger and animosity toward each other. Bill Diekmann was superb as Doc, the musical's voice of reason...
Director David Hock and choreographer Bill Hotaling staged the show beautifully, including a superbly choreographed fight during the rumble sequence and gorgeous reproductions of Robbins' iconic choreography. ...SMTC prides itself on always having a large orchestra accompaniment and the combination of Kevin Hayward's excellent conducting of the 28-piece orchestra and Curtis Moeller's music direction provided an impressive sound throughout....With a gifted cast and talented creative elements, Scottsdale Musical Theater Company's production of this classic musical was a superb and poignant reminder of the show's thought-provoking messages of acceptance and tolerance. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)