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By Elizabeth Youngman Westphal
Special to The Village News 

Two versions of 'Romeo and Juliet' now onstage


Last updated 8/26/2019 at 6:56am

"West Side Story" is an updated version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," and can be seen at The Moonlight Amphitheatre Under the Stars in Vista.

William Shakespeare's work can now be seen locally from two perspectives. The original story of forbidden love opened Aug. 17 at The Old Globe Theater Under the Stars, while the more modern version has already débuted at The Moonlight Amphitheatre Under the Stars in Vista Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The most beloved of Shakespeare's 38 plays, "Romeo & Juliet" tells the tale of two feuding families and the heart-breaking tragedy that comes from senseless violence.

The modern version known as "Westside Story" was the vision of Jerome Robbins. He collaborated with Arthur Laurents to write the book, Leonard Bernstein the music and Stephen Sondheim added lyrics. Together they recreated Shakespeare's heart-breaking tragedy and created a new classic about forbidden love.

Set in the upper West Side of New York City, Hector Guerrero is true to the Jerome Robbins original choreography. Guerrero's faithful reproduction sparkles with every finger snap, high kick or fight scene. It is as it was opening night on Broadway July 31, 1957, and it is simply dazzling.

Theatergoers are treated to one of the finest productions of the year. It is a must see if only to hear Michael James Byrne as Tony sing "Maria."

This is a 5-star production using only the best talent on the planet and playing through Aug. 31 at Moonlight Stage in Vista. Opening next, on Sept. 11, is "Victor/Victoria." For tickets, call the box office, (760) 724-2110 or visit Rated 10 out of 10.

The original version of "Romeo and Juliet" is being performed at The Old Globe 2019 Summer Shakespeare Festival in San Diego.

Telling the ageless tale of star-crossed lovers inside colliding cultures, the original version opened Aug. 17 at The Old Globe 2019 Summer Shakespeare Festival. Touted as the "greatest love story of all time" it is hard to disagree.

While I didn't get to see the opening night production, this one is set in modern times with Barry Edelstein directing; it will be an evening to remember and not missed.

While set 400 years apart, both "Romeo & Juliet" and "Westside Story" share a story about hate and the sorrow connected with it.

Playing outdoors in the Lowell Davies Festival Theater, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, tickets start at only $30. Ask about the $14 prepaid parking. It's worth it. For tickets, call the box office, (619) 234-5623, or visit Unrated to date.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at


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