The music is exciting, the dancing under the choreography of Rhett Guter) is amazing and the sets on the stage of Drury Lane Oakbrook by Scott Davis amazingly simple, but sheer perfection, for telling this age-old story. Songs like “Tonight”, “I Feel Pretty”, “Somewhere” , “America” (deliciously performed by Anita/Michelle Aravena and Rosalia/Lillian Castillo), ” Gee, Officer Krupke” ( Adrian Aguilar/Action and the Jets bring this number to a new high) and the loving “One Hand, One Heart”. This is a musical that is filled with music and lyrics that tell the story. The music without words allows the story to be told in dance making this complete.
Photo by Brett Beiner
Bernardo, the head of The Sharks, and Maria’s brother is portrayed by Lucas Segovia who is brilliant (one can tell that he is a ballet dancer from the moment he steps on the stage) in this role. The ensemble is dynamite in every way, from the small roles to the large, each member of this large cast performs their part in telling us this love story from start to touching finale. I am pretty sure that you all know the story of what happens in the original “Romeo & Juliet” and that due to circumstances that were “avoidable” our star-crossed lovers find an ending that may not be as you would want or expect, but the story told has meaning for those who see it and this production is certainly one that will open the eyes of those who are one-sided.
Other notable performances in this production, Rhett Guter as Riff, leader of the Jets, Chicago favorite Roger Mueller as Doc, Brett Tuomi as Lt. Shrank and John Gray as Officer Krupke. Maria’s parents are played by Ofelia Ortega and Ruben Serna, and the “Somewhere” soloist in a very special rendition is Lauren Villegas. As someone who has been involved in the Hispanic community for many years, it is nice to see that this cast has many Latinos in it. Gracias, Drury Lane! Once again- great acting, spectacular dance and voices that make the words dance into your minds, hearts and souls. The musical direction (Roberta Duchak does her thing) and the orchestra, under the direction of Ben Johnson fills the theater with this historical musical about hope.
The demand for tickets for this show has been such that they have already extended the production, which will now continue through March 29th with performances as follows: