Somewhere Goes Nowhere, but Was Good at First

By Laurel Sorenson and Mae Wright, Opinions editor and Staff writer

When New York elected to build Lincoln Center in 1959, many people recognized it as progress, but few stopped to think about those families who were uprooted from their homes to make way for the new performing arts center.

“Somewhere,” written by Old Globe playwright in residence Mathew Lopez, follows the Candelarias, a family of aspiring actors who linger in their condemned apartment despite the foreboding shadow of the wrecking ball. They leave only when the prospect of eviction is made real to them under threat of arrest.

A year after the move, filming begins for the movie adaptation of their favorite Broadway musical, “West Side Story” in their old neighborhood. The Candelarias combat financial hardship while working as extras in the movie and pursuing their dreams.

The first act contained the majority of the drama and made effective use of witty dialogue and slapstick humor. One scene in particular, involving Francisco Candelaria (played by Juan Javier Cardenas) and a teddy bear, left the audience sculpting abs with laughter. No one compared, however, to Broadway alumnus Priscilla Lopez who led the cast with her eloquent discourse and skillful comedic timing as Inez Candelaria, the family matriarch.

In contrast, the second act slowed down considerably as a result of the static character development, but was salvaged through dance sequences inspired by West Side Story. The use of music throughout also strongly enhanced the play as a whole. Though it was not a musical, show tunes and jazz set the tone of every scene; silence only strengthened the more somber moments.

The show received a partial standing ovation, reflecting how only part of the play was worth watching. Those who stood were most likely fans of West Side Story and the works of Arthur Miller, enjoying this production for its choreography and fatal undertones.