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  West Side Story at Lyric Opera

West Side Story

Lyric Opera
20 N. Wacker Drive Chicago

One of the most beloved musicals ever, West Side Story takes the most famous romantic drama of all time, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and sets it loose in epic fashion on the streets of 1950s New York, finding two idealistic young lovers caught between warring street gangs -- the Jets and the Sharks. The famed 1961 film adaptation won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and this Broadway version has become a true American classic. Written by the creative dream team of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story's legendary jazz, Latin and classical-inspired score features treasured numbers like "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty" and "America" -- not to mention original choreography by Jerome Robbins.

Thru - Jun 2, 2019

Price: $39-$219

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 312-332-2244

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

Nearby Restaurants

  West Side Story Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...What you are buying here is an originalist production, as traditional a staging as you ever now are likely to see. Director Francesca Zambello's long-established production, which already has been seen all over the world in various iterations - both indoors and outdoors - returns to the original Jerome Robbins choreography, as reproduced here by Julio Monge. Robbins' name might appear in every program of every production, but his work is now more frequently ignored, replaced or at least modified (choreographers prefer the word "adapted" to "reproduced"). Dance is the primary narrative vehicle in this iconic musical, so the choice to go with the original steps fully dictates, well, most everything. And that ensemble crouch, maybe the greatest starting position in the history of Broadway, still has all its power."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Francesca Zambello's production sticks to the script, you might say, providing a straightforward but always compelling take on the teen tragedy. The costumes from Jessica Jahn get an update - there are plenty of moto-pants and camo designs onstage that you might see in this month's GQ, and the guys have a lot of tattoos, including on their shoulders and necks. I'm pretty sure that was a picture of Sonia Sotomayor hanging on Maria's second-story bedroom wall, thanks to set designer Peter J. Davison."
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Steven Oxman

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The popularity of the Bernstein/Sondheim score, with stand-alone hits like "Maria," "Tonight," and "Somewhere," along with the classic 1961 film, have made West Side Story so familiar, performances can take on a ritual aspect. But a chance to see it in a production at this operatic scale, with a 40-piece orchestra (conducted by James Lowe) is rare."
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Deanna Isaacs

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...And the basic Romeo and Juliet-inspired love story still shines through thanks to gorgeously acted and sung performances all around. Mikaela Bennett as Maria and Corey Cott as Tony lean more on pop vocal technique to sound like contemporary teenagers instead of sounding overly operatic ( like in composer Leonard Bernstein's own overblown 1985 studio recording )."
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Scott C Morgan

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Francesca Zambello’s supersized West Side Story is a classical take on a classic musical; aside from Peter J. Davison’s massive set, created to fill the Lyric Opera’s stage, the production wouldn’t be out of place in any of the Loop’s large touring venues. With a show as airtight as this one, such an approach is understandable, yet it also runs the risk of seeming dutiful instead of daring. But performers Corey Cott and Mikaela Bennett bring such vibrant life to the story’s central pair of star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, that the show all but leaps off the stage. Their performances are sublime."
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Alex Huntsberger

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...By now, Lyric Opera of Chicago can claim an impressive string of spring musicals, hugely popular explorations of classic Americana that appear like shining exclamation marks at the end of regular opera seasons. The latest, "West Side Story," well may be the finest. Indeed, you might be hard pressed ever to find a more profoundly satisfying account of this exquisite music-drama, which shares with its model, Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," both its bittersweet hope and its timeless tragedy."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Let's Play 'Highly recommend' that you experience 'West Side Story' at The Lyric Opera of Chicago. Is just the place for you to enjoy this iconic Tony-winning Broadway musical!"
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Over the years, in our regional theaters, we have seen countless productions of "West Side Story" and as I always say, when it comes to live theater, a different director, choreographer, cast, set and stage can alter the appearance, the translation and the overall appearance of the finished product. The Lyric production is no different. Directed by Francesca Zambello on a set designed by Peter J. Davison, we are in New York, and our scenes are on the street, at the high school gym, Doc's place, the bridal shop where Maria works and of course, the room that Maria sleeps in along with her fire escape/balcony. We see and feel the places we are supposed to be seeing."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...Fans looking for the traditional "West Side Story" will be rewarded with that and more. For newcomers, this is an excellent way to experience this beautiful and harrowing work."
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Erin Shea Brady

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Watching Saturday’s opening night performance of the electrifying Lyric Opera revival of the musical – a coproduction with Houston Grand Opera and the Glimmerglass Festival that is by far the finest production in the seven years of Broadway at Lyric’s programming – not only served as a reminder of how innovative “West Side Story” was in terms of its seamless hybrid of classical, opera, jazz and Latin music and dance, and its use of streetwise slang. But it’s handling of social, political and cultural themes also broke new ground as it tackled issues of gang turf wars, police tactics, animosity toward new immigrants, cross-cultural relationships, sexual violence, and even feelings about Puerto Rico."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This splendid production is a remarkable, collaborative achievement, only playing through early June. The presentation deserves all the enthusiastic applause and shouts of "Bravo" it receives. Just to hear Bernstein's beautiful score played with such passion by a full orchestra, and to see a company of enthusiastic, talented young professionals acting, singing and dancing their hearts out, makes a trip to Chicago's jewel on North Wacker well worthwhile. This production is, indeed, transformational, life-changing and revelatory. Please, do not miss this one! "
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...The clumsy sounding language is a very minor inconvenience at the Lyric, well covered by the ensemble's realistic command of the Laurents dialogue. What endures is the portrayal in words and deeds of the hatred between the two ethnic gangs, hostilities played out on the mean streets of urban America. There has been no attempt to inject political correctness in the revival to soothe modern sensibilities. Puerto Rican stereotypes are exuberantly mocked in the hilarious "America" song and dance number. A New York City policeman is portrayed as a brutal racist. The violence, when it erupts, is savage and believable. The show's romance and comedy remain a delight but the production never takes its eye off the dramatic ball, focusing on the heartbreaking fate of Maria and Tony, two nice kids destroyed because the people living in their world just couldn't get along."
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Dan Zeff

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...Director Francesca Zambello wisely leaves Story to do its thing. She knows she doesn’t have to graft on anything extra to make the material any more electrifying than it already is — Leonard Bernstein’s sexy symphonic score damn well takes care of that, as does Jerome Robbins’s iconic choreography (recreated by Julio Monge)."
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Patrick O'Brien

Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...The musical is more appropriate than audiences might think. Not just because of its messages but also because from Aug. 25, 2017 when Bernstein would have turned 99, through August 25, 2019, orchestras, opera houses including the Lyric, are celebrating this amazing composer, humanitarian, conductor, musician's 100th anniversary."
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Jodie Jacobs

Storefront Rebellion - Highly Recommended

"...this is a top-of-the-line, traditional West Side Story, a classy rendition of a classic musical-which makes it likely a far cry from the next Broadway revival, which is scheduled to get the Ivo Van Hove treatment (and scrap the Robbins dances). For an impeccably played, sung, danced and acted edition of this great musical-just in a new wardrobe-Lyric's staging is a welcome way to revisit the West Side."
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Kris Vire

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...As patrons poured into Lyric Opera House Saturday evening for the opening of "West Side Story," the iconic Jerome Robbins masterpiece that pits the Jets against the Sharks in the stark and troubled '50s-era New York City neighborhood, there was palpable excitement, as if the highly anticipated Francesca Zambello-directed juggernaut-a co-production two years in the making with Houston Grand Opera and Glimmerglass Festival-will certainly rip the roof away from Chicago's biggest stage."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Lyric's West Side Story doesn't detour from the original, delivering the feel that one expects from a Broadway, or touring Broadway in Chicago, production. The two stars do in fact have stellar musical theater pedigrees. As Mikaela Bennett sings the part of Maria we are reminded that if it is a Lyric production it is all about the music. Her voice is one that this writer would want to hear again and again in a concert hall. While she isn't the agile presence of most of the triple threat cohort around her, she aptly conveys the adolescence of her role, both with her first love gropes and barely contained giddiness with the girls."
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Amy Munice

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