All the World's a Stage, Arts & Culture

Could it Be? Yes, it Could. West Side Story at Paper Mill Playhouse is Very Good

West Side Story

The most beautiful sound I ever heard was Matt Doyle singing as Tony in Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story.

West Side Story.My 12 year old daughter and I had the pleasure of seeing West Side Story on Sunday night at the official press opening. I fell in love with the film version as a girl her age and wanted to share the experience with her. She didn’t know anything about the legendary musical, so she watched with new eyes. By the end of this fantastic production — which is directed by Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee —she was in love too.

West Side Story

For those of you who don’t know (Can that be?) West Side Story is the groundbreaking and legendary musical that premiered on Broadway in 1958. The film adaptation came in 1961. It takes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and transports the tale to 1950s New York City. Two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heartwrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.
West Side Story

With Jerome Robbins’ original choreography (recreated by Alex Sanchez), the magnificent music, a great set, and an outstanding cast of actors, Paper Mill Playhouse’s production is better than the Broadway Revival show that I saw in 2009.

Matt Doyle as Tony and Belinda Allyn as Maria are two of the main reasons that this production shines. Doyle’s Tony is as good, or dare I say better, than Richard Beymer’s Tony in the film. Doyle’s voice is beautiful. Stong and layered with emotion. He captures Tony’s heart in the most lovely way. Allyn, who recently made her Broadway debut in Allegiance, makes a great Maria. Her voice is also stunning and she transitions from the sweet and innocent young girl to the hardened and devastated Maria beautifully.

West Side Story

Natalie Cortez as Anita, German Alexander as Bernardo, and Mikey Winslow as Riff nicely compliment the two leads, as do the rest of the cast.

West Side Story runs now through June 26, 2016. Tickets are $37 – $140.  Note: Due to issues of racial tension, violence, and some sexual situations, we feel the show is appropriate for ages 11 and up.

Paper Mill Playhouse
22 Brookside Drive
Millburn, NJ 07041
Parking available at the theater ($9)

Where to Eat

paper mill playhouse

There are many choices both near (right in the same building) and a short drive away to make your family theater night even more special. Here are a few choices:

  • Carriage House Bistro & Bar:  located right at Paper Mill Playhouse, Carriage House offers seasonal American cuisine and pre-theater price fixed menus for lunch, dinner and kids. Choose Carriage House for a very special night.
  • Basilico: Very good Italian food with a nice kids’ menu offering much more than your standard chicken fingers.
  • Charlie Brown’s: A good chain restaurant offering an affordable, kid-friendly meal.
(Photos courtesy of Paper Mill Playhouse)

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