The featured performer who really takes command is Desiree Davar, whose Anita not only strikes a much-needed erotic spark but also finds the sardonic bite in songs like her showstopper “America.” The role can turn into an oversexed caricature; in this production, Davar’s confident seductiveness contrasts with a lot of awkward ass-grabbing on the Jets’ side of the stage.
-Jay Gabler CityPages
You almost don’t know where to look but let me pause here to tell you that if Velma Kelly is on stage, look in her direction.
Kelly is played by Desiree Davar. It’s cheesy to say that the stage could not contain this woman but Davar used every inch and then leapt up on a table or a chair to add surface. This woman could kick so high and with such snap it was hard to believe she wasn’t dislocating something. Her upper body is so sculpted that she looks like she does pull-ups for a hobby.
In one particularly marvelous number, Davar appears to be translating Egyptian hieroglyphics with her upper body and arms. What she produces is so precise and so well executed that you can’t turn your eyes away.
-Theresa Goffredo Herald Net
But the performer most likely to capture your heart is Desireé Davar. She plays the feisty Puerto Rican beauty Anita with a mix of impressive muscular strength, and an immigrant’s steely determination to succeed – a powerful and attractive blend. And immigration, of course, is now a hot political issue.
-Jeff Hudson Capital Public Radio
The standout performers also include Desiree Davar, who is powerfully emotive as Bernardo’s girlfriend Anita, the role that won Rita Moreno an Oscar for the 1961 film version.
-Rohan Preston Star Tribune
Desiree Davar stands out as a fabulous dancer and wonderfully sincere and sensual Anita, Maria’s best friend and Bernardo’s girlfriend.
-Erika Sasseville Twin Cities
The opening scene of Act Two, in which Peter, Wendy, the Boys and Indians join Tiger Lily (an indefatigable Desiree Davar) in the song “Ugg-a-Wugg” is the most impressive element of a very impressive show. Tiger Lily and Peter perform an invigorating drum duet, accompanied by the others banging drumsticks on the floor and other objects. It’s so full of energy and executed so perfectly that, on opening night Tuesday, it brought the house down — or rather, up on its feet for a standing ovation.
-Jim Carnes Sacramento Press