Opera Australia has revealed the full cast of exceptional performers who will take to its famous over-water stage for a brand new Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production of the iconic Broadway musical, West Side Story.
Joining opera/musical crossover stars Julie Lea Goodwin and Alexander Lewis, the role of the fiery Anita will be played by Melbourne-born Karli Dinardo, who is gaining attention as a rising musical theatre star in the US, with performances in Hamilton (National Tour), West Side Story (Carnegie Hall), and the starring role in Flashdance (National Tour). Karli will be joined on stage by her sister, Luca Dinardo, who will play the tomboy Anybodys, pitching the sisters against each other on opposing sides of the famous West Side Story gang rivalry.
Exciting Puerto Rican performer, Waldemar Quiñones-Villanueva, who has previously performed West Side Story on Broadway and worked with Associate Director and Choreographer, Julio Monge, will play the role of Bernardo. Waldemar has also performed in international tours of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Billy Elliot, and Evita. This will be his Australian debut.
Mark Hill, best known for his acclaimed performances in Gypsy and Muriel’s Wedding The Musical (original cast) will play Riff, gang leader of the Jets, with Rubin Matters (Wizard of Oz Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) playing Diesel, Riff’s second-in-command.
Home and Away stalwart, Michael Beckley, also known for his principal roles in Melba and Mamma Mia, joins the cast as the gruff beat cop, Officer Krupke. Jay James-Moody (The Book of Mormon, A Cheery Soul) rounds out the strong cast of actors as the well-meaning but ineffective Glad Hand.
“I was blown away by the calibre of Australian performers that auditioned,” said Monge. “For me, coming from New York, it’s incredibly exciting to see the connection these artists already have to the story, and I can’t wait to see them take ownership of this iconic musical and unleash it on the Sydney Harbour stage.”
The West Side Story on Sydney Harbour ensemble cast includes: Jakob Ambrose, Georgia Anderson, Chiara Assetta, Kaya Byrne, Dion Bilios, Adriano Cassaniti, Des Flanagan, Ben Gillespie, Luke Haberecht, Emma Hawthorne, Kimberley Hodgson, Scott Irwin, Luke Jarvis, Heath Keating, Oliver Lacey, Kristina McNamara, Joe Meldrum, Joe Miller, Tom New, Rune Nydal, Cassie O’Brien, Brittany Page, Benjamin Purser, John Reed, Michelle Rozario, Tom Struik, Dayton Tavares, Angelina Thompson, Olivia Vasquez, Jessica Vellucci, Romina Villafranca, David Whitney, and Jamie Winbank.
West Side Story on Sydney Harbour runs 22 March – 21 April 2019. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Oliver Lacey (Baby John), Chiara Assetta (Teresita), Kristina McNamara (Graziella), Olivia Vasquez (Rosalia) and Dayton Tavares (Indio) will perform in West Side Story on Sydney Harbour 2019. – photo by Phillip Booth