The current touring production of West Side Story is going for a more realistic and grittier feel.
“These days where movies are incredibly graphic and when you turn on the news and everything is so graphic and intense, it is all about being real,” explains 22 year-old Georgia native Benjiman Dallas Redding who plays Riff, the leader of the Jets gang in the national touring company production of West Side Story. “If you watch the movie, all of the Jets have nicely coiffed blonde hair and are handsome. We literally rub dirt all over our faces”.
Helping to keep it real is choreographer Joey McKneely who called the current touring version of the 1957 musical “a West Side Story for a new generation” in a recent interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“We always have Joey there to bring us back to reality,” laughs Redding, calling it a “more grungy” approach to the characters that is reflected in the gang fights and the emotional struggles they endure in trying to find their place in the world.