Production tunes down new Spanish segments
The strong-selling Broadway revival of “West Side Story” is losing some of the Spanish-language segments touted when the show opened in the spring.
The English-Spanish balance has been readjusted in two songs, “A Boy Like That” and “I Feel Pretty,” both of which had previously been translated almost entirely into Spanish for the latest production.
“A Boy Like That” is now mostly sung in the original English, with additional bits of lyrics and dialogue in “I Feel Pretty” also switched back from Spanish. Changes were made last week.
The incorporation of Spanish into the book and lyrics of the 1957 tuner has been an ongoing consideration for creatives of the revival, which is helmed by book writer Arthur Laurents.
One of the scribe-director’s major concepts for the production involved having the members of the Sharks, the Puerto Rican gang that squares off with the American Jets in the “Romeo and Juliet” redux, speak in their native tongue. “In the Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was brought on to translate dialogue and lyrics (by Stephen Sondheim) into Spanish.
During the production’s tryout run in Washington, D.C., last year, creatives experimented with incorporating varying degrees of Spanish and with the inclusion of supertitled translations (which did not appear in the final production).
Laurents characterized the recent restoration of some bits of English as the latest step in the bilingual experiment.
Tuner has posted boffo sales figures since it began perfs in February, regularly logging weekly receipts of more than $1 million. Show has so far grossed about $32.3 million in its time on the boards.