Cast from across Australia begin rehearsals for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour

Cast in rehearsals for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour photo by Prudence UptonRehearsals have begun this week for the smash-hit musical West Side Story, which returns on Friday 22 March as the most popular production ever staged at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Performers from Mount Gambier, Wagga Wagga, Alice Springs, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as one international cast member from the US, have descended on Sydney, all eager to rise to the challenge of the four-week, open-air season on the famous harbour stage.

This exceptional cast have an intense rehearsal schedule ahead of them to master the challenging dance scenes and iconic music in this legendary Broadway musical, under the direction of Associate Director Eric Sean Fogel, Revival Choreographer Kiira Schmidt Carper and Musical Director Guy Simpson.

West Side Story features one of the most renowned ensembles in musical theatre, playing enemy street gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, requiring highly skilled dancers to perform the celebrated and complex choreography.

Leading the cast are First Nations soprano Nina Korbe as Maria and Canberran Billy Bourchier as Tony, joined by Newcastle-born Patrick Whitbread, whose previous credits include Mary Poppins, The Book of Mormon and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, as Riff.

Gold Coast’s Kimberley Hodgson as Anita, straight from her successful run as Gigi in Opera Australia’s Miss Saigon, while Broadway performer Manuel Stark Santos will make his Australian debut in the role of Bernardo.

The cast of 44 also includes Australian performers Wayne Scott Kermond as Doc, Scott Irwin as Schrank, Joe Clements as Officer Krupke and Doron Chester as Gladhand.

Known as one of Sydney’s most spectacular night’s out, an evening at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour includes a nightly fireworks display, a range of pop-up bars and eateries across the site and unmatched views of Sydney’s iconic cityscape, including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

West Side Story on Sydney Harbour runs from Friday 22 March to Sunday 21 April 2024. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Cast in rehearsals for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour – photo by Prudence Upton