"West Side Story," now onstage at Carousel Dinner Theatre in Akron, is celebrating its golden anniversary this year, and the show has aged well.

The story of two rival New York City street gangs, based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," remains fresh and relevant even today. Sparks fly on all sides when Tony, a former member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the rival gang, the Sharks.

In this show, Carousel has turned the whole theater into a staging area for its ensemble of actors. Lines of laundry are strung across over the audience, and the members of the rival gangs often run in the audience area around the tables and down the aisles. In the whole ensemble's rendition of "Tonight" at the end of Act I -- one of the show's most impressive moments -- actors are all around the theater.

Nathan Scherich and Stephanie Iannarino are excellent in the roles of Tony and Maria. Scherich has a fine tenor voice, and blends well with Iannarino's strong soprano. Julie Kotarides (Anita) and David Villella (Bernardo) also gave commanding performances.

The dance numbers are also outstanding -- a must for this type of show -- especially the dance scene at the school gym and during the number "America." I also enjoyed the different twist they gave to "America."

Ticket, show information

Show times are Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. Matinees are Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. (including a special Thursday matinee on June 28). Ticket prices range from $33.50 to $55, plus processing fee.

Group discounts are available for parties of 20 or more through the Carousel Group Sales Department. The Carousel can also accommodate pre- or post-show receptions in the theater's private banquet facilities. For details on group rates, individualized party or presentation planning and banquet room or theater rentals, call Carousel's group sales professionals at 330-724-9855. ext. 133.

Additionally, Carousel offers discounted prices for student groups and Ohio Golden Buckeye and AARP cardholders.

For reservations and more information, contact the Carousel Box Office, 1275 E. Waterloo Road, in Akron, at 330-724-9855 or 800-362-4100, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased and printed on the Internet using our interactive seating tool at www.carouseldinnertheatre.com.

E-mail: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3153