When a community theater decides to produce a big, well-known musical, there is always a risk that its production will unwittingly beg comparisons with other versions of the same show audience members have seen in the past. It's next to impossible not to picture the other dance sequences or compare the actors' voices in your mind.
The Indianapolis Civic Theatre's current production of "West Side Story" does just that. It's a fun show in its own right, but it's definitely not a big budget production. Half of the men in the Sharks gang were caucasian. The Sharks' tense relationship with the rival gang, the Jets, is based on the fact that it is made up of Puerto Ricans who recently immigrated to America. Inconsistencies like that can be distracting.
The best part of attending shows at a theater made up of avocational actors is seeing a break out star. The musical's Maria, played by Angela Nichols Manlove, is the perfect example. Her obvious talent rises above the grab bag of '80s style costumes. The show comes alive during her "Tonight" duet with Tony, played by Patrick Clements. The couple's chemistry and Manlove's gorgeous voice make the song the highlight of the show.
Though "West Side Story" was never quite in sync; the dancing just a beat off, the singing just a bit flat, it's still a fun musical to see and Manlove's performance is worth the ticket price.
Don't Miss the Show
Performances: Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The show continues until March 29. The Indianapolis Civic Theatre is located at 3200 Cold Spring Road. on the Marian College campus.
Tickets: Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting www.civictheatre.com.
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