Last night I had an unusual entertainment dilemma. Do I go watch “West Side Story” at the Fox Theatre or stay home and watch my beloved Missouri Tigers in the Cotton Bowl?
On the one hand it has been an exciting year for my alma mater and it would be a shame to miss the finale. On the other hand, my wife really likes musical theater.
On the one hand I have a long, sad, disappointing history with the Missouri Tigers. Do I really want to spend the night cursing at the television and screaming for no good reason, like I did during the Auburn game? And so many important games before? Sure, “West Side Story” ends in heartbreak and tragedy too, but I know that going into it.
But hey, maybe this will be the year when Mizzou doesn’t disappoint in the final round. But then, when have Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein ever disappointed me?
In the end I decided to watch the Sharks vs. the Jets and taped the Tigers vs. whatever-Oklahoma-State-is. If the Tigers win, I can enjoy it at my leisure Saturday morning. If they lose, I can erase it and save myself four hours of grief.
Ah, “West Side Story.” Once you get past the idea of street hoodlums prancing about like gazelles, it truly is one of the great Broadway musicals. The music is lovely, there’s not a filler song in the show, the dance choreography is joyous, the story is classic and rings as true today as it did in 1957.
It’s especially eye-opening to watch a show like this after watching a show like “Elf.” “Elf” was cute but this is a whole other level. Compare the dancing store Santas of “Elf” to any number in “West Side Story” and it’s like comparing an elementary school production to Broadway.
This particular production, which unfortunately is only in town for a three-day stand, is top-notch. The dancing, singing and acting is all first-rate. I was especially impressed by Michelle Alves, who plays Anita, but they were all great including MaryJoanna Grisso as Maria and Jarrad Biron Green as Tony.
Oh, and when we got home the football game was still going on. Since when do football games run longer than Broadway musicals? And the Cotton Bowl started an hour earlier. At any rate, we were able to enjoy the last 40 seconds of Mizzou’s glorious win so it was a good night all around.
West Side Story runs through tonight. http://www.fabulousfox.com/