West Side Story‘s Shereen Pimentel on Her Pandemic Pup and 2020 Transformations
Living near the theater district during the Broadway shutdown, photographer and performer Matthew Stocke has been haunted walking past the empty palaces sitting in repose, waiting for the lights and stars to return. In this new Broadway.com photo feature, he reunites members of the theater community with their Broadway home #AwayFromHome.
WEST SIDE STORY
Prior to the Broadway shutdown, Shereen Pimentel was starring in the Ivo van Hove-helmed West Side Story revival as Maria while finishing up her final semester at Juilliard. “My days are packed with emails and rehearsal and school and assignments. But it’s fun,” she previously told Broadway.com. Here, she opens up about her newfound free time, her pup Thor, and what excites her most about getting back to work.
“I’m in my hometown of Teaneck, New Jersey with my parents and our two dogs. We have our family dog, but I got my own dog that will come back with me to the city whenever we get back to rehearsal. His name is Thor. There is really something about that unconditional love from a dog. He is always so excited to see me. I’ll go downstairs to take a shower, and when I come back upstairs, it’s like I’ve come back from a war….There are weeks where I feel so strong in this, and there are other weeks where I just want to lay around in my pajamas. I was running 20 miles a minute [before the shutdown]. I didn’t have a day off, basically—which is OK—I like a busy schedule. We are all having conversations now about what kind of privilege we have in our lives: being busy was a privilege I had in my life, even as a woman of color….I really miss seeing the cast every day. We had long rehearsals—long hours in general. We spent a lot of time together. Everyone is scattered now. There’s constantly a conversation going on about, ‘What’s going on in New York City? Who left? Who’s there?’…There’s something really special about live theater. There’s something about that transformation and doing it for that audience on that night. Seeing the marquee—it’s heartbreaking, sure. But there’s this hopefulness there. I can’t wait to see my futon in my dressing room: my futon, my Apple TV, my fuzzy, weighted blanket. I think we all have changed. We’ve gone through the pandemic, the shutdown, so much uncertainty, important conversations about the current climate and representation—there’s no way that can all happen and you are still the same person you were in 2019. I’m really excited to go back into the show with a new mindset. I think each one of us is going to come back to play all of the roles differently. We made this show from ourselves and from who we were at the time that we made it. Now, we’re not the same people.”
Photos by Matthew Stocke/Matt James Photo NYC for Broadway.com
Reporting by Lindsey Sullivan