WANT TO GO?
"West Side Story" presented by Broadway in Charleston
WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: $48 and $69
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org
_____CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Michelle Alves said there's nothing like doing a show like "West Side Story." It's been an amazing experience for her.
"It's the 'Romeo and Juliet' of musical theater," she said. "I'll never get tired of singing the songs of Stephen Sondheim or dancing the steps of Jerome Robbins. It's a classic, a masterpiece."
The actress and dancer, who appears in the Broadway in Charleston production of "West Side Story" at the Clay Center Sunday, loved the show so much, she signed on for a second year and hasn't ruled out coming back for a third, fourth or fifth.
"I could do this for 20 years, 30 years," the Puerto Rican performer said.
Set in 1950s New York, "West Side Story" tells the story of Tony and Maria. Tony, a former member of an all-white street gang, The Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, who leads the Puerto Rican gang, The Sharks.
Alves plays Anita, Bernardo's girlfriend and Maria's best friend. She said just because "West Side Story" is a love story doesn't mean it's just for the girls.
"It's for the boys, too," she said. "There's fighting and knives and guns!"
She added the show is full of great songs and amazing dancing.
Alves didn't start out on the theater stage -- at least, that wasn't how she earned her living as an entertainer for the bulk of her career.
"I was a background dancer," she said. "I was a commercial dancer for different singers and artists: Ricky Martin, the Black Eyed Peas, Pitbull. I started when I was in high school, when I was 16, and did that for 12 years."