A captivating and beloved classic, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of the musical West Side Story is dazzling audiences now through April 14. Photo by Alicia Donelan

On March 28 Maltz Jupiter Theatre raised the curtain on its final production of the season with a block buster production of “West Side Story.” 

“There’s not an empty seat in the house,” said Andrew Kato Producing Artistic Director/Chief Executive addressing the audience before the show began. “And it looks like we might sell out the remainder of the run.”

The production runs through April 14. Tickets start at $60. For tickets and showtimes call 561-575-2223 or visit JupiterTheatre.org. 

Sitting there mesmerized by what was taking place on stage I could almost feel the subway rumble under my feet and catch a whiff of that inimitable New York City street-level aroma.  

That’s how close for me the Maltz is to Broadway quality and this production of the award winning classic, “West Side Story,” pushes them over the top. 

It is nonstop superlatives from start to finish. Director Marcos Santana with choreographer Al Blackstone and music director Andrew David Sotomayor pulled together a cast of 28 triple threat (singer/dancer/actor) performers, with breath taking choreography and eye-popping staging, lighting, costumes and direction, not to mention incredible singing and a 12 piece orchestra supporting it all.

Readers may recall the leadership trio’s work from last season’s critically-acclaimed production of “Disney Newsies The Musical.” Also, Santana choreographed the Theatre’s hit production of “Kiss Me, Kate” in 2016.

The musical’s classic score includes American musical theater classics including “Tonight,” “Something’s Coming,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty” “Somewhere” and, of course, “Maria.”

“West Side Story opened in 1957 with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The Musical was influenced by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and follows the story of Tony (Jim Schubin) and Maria (Evy Ortiz) two young lovers - she Puerto Rican and he American.  They are caught between warring street gangs, the American Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. They fight to find a place for themselves in a violent world, only to discover that even love can end in tragedy.

“West Side Story has long been considered one of the greatest love stories of all time, and we are proud to be bringing this phenomenal musical to life on the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s stage,” Kato said. “The musical has been taking the world by storm for decades, and for good reason; its story and music remain more powerful and poignant than ever.”  

In his column in Footlights, Kato talks about the Maltz production being a reimagining through the eyes of Santana, Blackstone and Sotomayor. An interview with Santana describes his use of a prelude and postlude to imagine Maria’s life after Tony.  Take a few minutes to read the interview before the show begins to understand what he means.

With so much happening on the stage it’s hard to keep up. That said, there were a few things that resonated a little more for me than others. Schubin and Ortiz singing “Tonight” was exquisite. Their voices played off each other like layers of silk in a breeze.  

Elisa Galindez (Rosalia) brought tears to my eyes with her rendition of “Somewhere” and Michelle Alves (Anita) commanded my attention whenever she was on stage although I had to look away during the “Taunting Scene.”

Maltz Jupiter Theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Road – due east from I95.