THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood in the film of<em> West Side Story</em>

Review: West Side Story | Dallas Symphony Orchestra | Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center


Pretty Cool

With West Side Story, the Dallas Symphony gets in the game of screening films and playing the original score.



published Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Photo: United Artists
Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood in the film of West Side Story

 

Dallas — An audience-pleasing trend of the past few years is to project favorite movies old and new on a big screen while a live orchestra provides the soundtrack. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra got in on the action this weekend by showing the 1961 film West Side Story while performing Leonard Bernstein’s orchestral score.

Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics for West Side Story, set to Leonard Bernstein’s music, is some of the most brilliant musical theater writing ever (Arthur Laurents wrote the book; the film was co-directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, the original choreographer; all inspired by Romeo and Juliet). The film begins with an iconic dance sequence—members of rival street gangs dance ballet while they fight. As one does. Listening to a live orchestra while enjoying this visual spectacle on the big screen was a rare treat.

Contemporary technologies have made these productions feasible. The conductor uses a monitor that shows him the film with “streamers and punches,” visual cues that show tempo changes and downbeats for each measure. This device allows the precision necessary to synchronize the orchestra’s live performance with the film.

The West Side Story performance included the original taped vocals from the film, which adds an order of magnitude of difficulty to the production. A film such as The Fellowship of the Ring, which the Dallas Pops staged in a similar way a couple of years ago, is a much simpler proposition. If something goes wrong and, say, the orchestra is a beat or two off, it’s no big deal. It’s improbable that anyone will notice.

However, that is not the case with musicals. If the orchestra isn’t perfectly synchronized with the pre-recorded vocals, it’s a very big problem. During the first half, the orchestra and conductor Jayce Ogren were on the mark. However, the musicians were listening to click tracks—audio cues much like metronome beats designed to help them synchronize the music to the film. These click tracks, oddly, were audible to the audience during softer passages in the first half. After intermission, the click tracks were no longer audible, at least not from my seat, but there were some noticeable synchronization problems.

The orchestra’s playing was not quite up to usual Dallas Symphony standards, either, although there were some moments of brilliance. The Dallas Symphony percussion were excellent in a demanding role, as were the brass. Strings sometimes sounded uncharacteristically ragged, however, and the orchestra as a whole wasn’t quite together.

Despite these glitches, the near-capacity audience seemed thrilled by the experience. As we headed for the exits, one audience member was heard to say, “That’s the best thing I’ve been to here.” Synchronization difficulties aside, then, these productions are fan favorites, to be sure. Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Pretty Cool
With West Side Story, the Dallas Symphony gets in the game of screening films and playing the original score.
by J. Robin Coffelt

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre Citizen Drumpf Watertower Theatre Breadcrumbs Bocelli American Airlines center Collin Theatre Center Angels in America Constellations Theatre Arlington Islamic Art Dallas Opera The Drama Club Cara Mia Lakecities Ballet Theatre
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit