“It’s hands down my favorite show that I’ve ever done and probably my favorite show of all time,” says Jeremy Jordan of West Side Story. “It’s so well-crafted and well-balanced and creative and moving, and [it] kind of has all those things that you want.”
So you can imagine how thrilled he was that in between filming seasons of television’s Supergirl, Jordan was able to revisit the role of Tony in West Side Story at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. (Jordan shared the role with Matthew Hydzik, performing twice a week, from 2009-2010 in the Broadway revival.)
For Jordan, there are two moments that he cherishes most. “There’s something about the song ‘Something’s Coming’ that’s so indicative of the power of something so simple and how it infects you as a viewer and as a performer,” says Jordan, “because you come from this scene where he’s kind of dull and downward and basically breaking up with his best friend to coming into a moment where everything feels hopeful and ahead of him and excited, and it just excites me to get to do that; it’s the most exciting moment, I think, in the show. And then, also, just the whole ‘Tonight’ meeting sequence is really just magic. You hear those opening chords of ‘Tonight’ and you just cannot help but [glow].
“That’s what I miss the most; I miss doing theatre bigtime,” says Jordan of his bi-coastal life. “It’s definitely my number one [passion].” For one week in July, Jordan teamed up with Tony winner Karen Olivo and George Akram, who both starred in the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story as Anita and Bernardo, respectively, to put on an abridged version of the classic musical.
The focus of this production, which took place July 14 and 19, was the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale. So even though West Side Story is famous for its choreography, there was no dancing in this staging—even minimal scene work. “They had this version of the show in San Francisco where the only dialogue was the dialogue that was in the music,” explains Jordan. “The show lives almost equally in the book as it does in the score, which is really cool. … So we incorporated little mini-scenes throughout the entire [show] to tell the story.”
Under the artistic direction of Grant Gershon and book direction of David Saint, Jordan considers the show a success. “It was really fun and exciting,” he says. “And it was great to reunite.”
Ruthie Fierberg is the Features Editor at Playbill.com. She has also written for Backstage, Parents and American Baby. See more at ruthiefierberg.com and follow her on Twitter at @RuthiesATrain.