The characters who seemed convincing on every level were German Santiago (Bernardo), Alexandra Frohlinger (Anybodys), and Drew Foster (Action). The other principals had varying grips on their Bronx or Puerto Rican accents, their vocal control, their physical presence. Overmiking rendered Sondheim's witty lyrics unintelligible. The subtlety of Bernstein's rhythms and harmonic inventions, the conflicts of the personalities, the starkness of their situation, all this gets submerged in a rush from manic fury to sudden stillnesses. Squashed beneath the loud, raunchy action, the characters have become stereotypes telling a cartoon morality tale.
In the 1950s, Puerto Ricans were streaming off Pan Am planes at Idlewild Airport (now JFK) and heading straight to upper Manhattan. West Side Story's scorching music and dancing reflect the social upheaval of that time. Its final, tenuous reconciliation foreshadows the ill-concealed racial tensions of our own time. That too makes it a classic.
, Dance, Dance Reviews, West Side Story