It’s been a long, long time since I saw the movie, and I have a couple of albums of it, but those never made me really go “what?” And it’s not the fault of the performers. They performed pretty brilliantly across the board. And it’s not the fault of Leonard Bernstein’s score. That’s also absolutely gorgeous.
I just have ridiculous problems with the show as a show.
This is probably because I have Romeo and Juliet problems. I don’t believe in love at first sight. Period. I’m sure I’ve discussed this before, how “love at first sight” is really just chemical reactions in one’s brain; I don’t deny that you can be attracted to someone at first sight, and that this attraction can ultimately lead to love, but I don’t believe that it’s love in its truest form immediately. I don’t believe that you can love someone until you know them. Love is not just infatuation and attraction, it’s a connection to their personality. Or it should be. It should be all of these things combined.
And like Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria… are not in love. I mean, they may have love feelings by the end of the play, and they definitely have “this could eventually be love” feelings, but Tony is so desperate to feel something new and Maria is so desperate to feel something that isn’t Chino that they mistake attraction and chemical sparkage for true love.
The premise just makes me sad. That they feel like it’s a great idea to go get married after knowing each other for a day. That they think that it’ll help their life problems. It won’t. They barely know each other. They’re teenagers. It can’t end well.
Also, some of the lyrics, now that I listen really closely? Are absolutely ridiculous. I mean, “Maria” and “Tonight” are absolutely gorgeous classic songs. I don’t deny this. But have you ever thought about the fact that “Something’s Coming” is an entire song about absolutely nothing? The melody is gorgeous, the instrumentals are gorgeous, but holy wow. And “Gee, Officer Krupke” serves a very specific point. It’s dumbass boys being dumbasses. (And, at least in this staging, simulating a lot of humping.) But it’s a terrible song. Even the orchestrations are ridiculous in that one. An oom-pah band? Really?
But the dancing was really, really pretty. Tony had a nice voice (though it was pointed out to me that his speaking voice sounded like Ted on How I Met Your Mother, which ruined Act II for me). Maria had a nice voice when she sang alone, together with other people she didn’t mix too well, but hey. The set was neat. And there was one girl in the chorus who I decided was my favorite: she had a high ponytail on top of her head, she was a Jet girl, she wore a tight cardigan and a pencil skirt and she had boobs. And she danced pretty.
…yeah. I just defiled an American classic with too much analysis.
–your fangirl heroine.