The night after Idina Menzel performed with the NSO, they took the stage again, for their final concert at The Filene Center, this summer. This is the same idea as “The Wizard of Oz” from earlier in the season. The NSO plays all of the music for the musical, as the movie is shown on the large screens for the in-house seats and the lawn. It’s a fantastic date night! There were people of all ages there and a lot who had never seen the whole movie before. Conductor, Emil de Cou makes it more entertaining. Have you ever read his notes in the playbill? He’s very amusing!
I was surprised at the number of older people that I spoke to, that had never seen the film before, but everyone loved it, so it was a success! For those of us who have seen the familiar Romeo and Juliet tale, it was a tremendous experience (I thought). I have always loved the music from the show/movie and I have a deep affection for the choreography, but it has never been a favorite musical, overall. I have seen various productions over the years, both professional and non and even though it’s not a top musical movie on my list, somehow I have seen it multiple times…lol!
The 2009 Broadway revival was interesting, but I thought that some of the actors were detached from their characters and their motivations were contrived and it relied completely on the new twist, that the Sharks only spoke Spanish. So, I didn’t overly enjoy it and it never moved up on my list and if anything, it moved down. Until I saw it at The Filene Center! I have to say that after seeing it on the large screens and really being swallowed by the screen and getting engulfed in emotion…I LOVED it! I really felt a part of the scenes and the NSO played (no pun intended) a huge part in my metamorphosis. I have always liked the singing in the movie of Richard Beymer (Tony), Russ Tamblyn (Riff), and Natalie Wood (Maria, whose singing voice was really provided by the incomparable, Marni Nixon). This experience brought out other performances that I had taken for granted, both acting and singing-wise. Tucker Smith (Ice) sings “Cool” and I like the song, but it’s never stuck out in my mind and now, I’ve tried to relive it since my night at Wolf Trap…but looking it up on YouTube, isn’t the same. I’ll have to pull out the DVD and try on the 55in…yes I even own it on DVD! One of my favorite songs is “Gee, Officer Krupke” but seeing Russ Tamblyn and the rest of the Jets, unclose and personal, was like no other time I have ever seen it! He acts out that song in a larger than life way on any size screen, but his buffoonery really killed me in this atmosphere! I am big at paying attention to the little details and background surrounding the main characters, especially when it’s a movie that I have seen before. This let me jump into the movie with them and have a whole new experience. Ned Glass, who played Doc stood out in a whole new way. Rita Moreno’s Anita is a sensational portrayal, but with the NSO behind her, it was as if she was performing live. The evening provided me with the emotional roller coaster that really makes for an epic film.
Overall Experience: A++, This was a total win! Leonard Bernstein’s music really takes off with Emil de Cou’s conducting and the NSO’s masterful playing. The actors come alive and you become a part of the emotional roller coaster. Daniel A. Fapp’s cinematography draws you in immediately and Jerome Robbins choreography keeps you transfixed.