COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s an iconic and timeless love story. West Side Story has been around for decades and it’s not losing any relevancy now.
“It’s a shining example of what happens when we as communities can solve our problems despite our differences,” explained Corbin Payne who plays Tony in the musical. “I think it’s a great example of the negativity and I think it’s important that we talk about that right now.”
The show has been on Broadway and graces stages across local theaters nationwide. It’s now here in Columbus for a limited time.
“I think we’re changing the game in terms of the classic musical which is really exciting,” said Alexis Semevolos who plays Maria. “We’ve taken a different stance, we’ve changed up the choreography, we’ve changed up different things to make it a little more our own.”
Alexis and Corbin live in New York but appreciate the value of a regional and local production.
“Adding that professionalism to the shows gives audiences something to look forward to and it’s like Broadway in Columbus in a lot of ways,” noted Payne.
Semevolos said her goal is to eventually land a gig on Broadway, but she knows the talent gracing the Garden Theater stage is just as good as some of the shows you will see in the Big Apple.
“You’re never going to know what you see when you go to these places and there is good theater everywhere,” she said.
Columbus Children’s Theater plays a huge part in the production. There are a ton of cast members who live right here in Columbus.
“They are fantastic, the kids,” said Payne. “They are so driven and the fact that they show up to rehearse every night and then go to school the next day, wow. Their jobs are harder than ours in a lot of ways.”
And even though the cast has only been in Columbus for about two months, they quickly realized this city is unlike any other.
“Working at this theater has been so wonderful,” explained Semevolos. “There is a wonderful artistic community in this area, especially within theater.”
West Side Story continues at the Garden Theater until Sunday, Nov. 17. Tickets are available at this link.