Opera Australia and GWB Entertainment brings the acclaimed BB Group production to Adelaide’s Festival Theatre following successful seasons in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Wellington and Germany.
The timeless theatrical classic will feature some of Australia’s most exciting rising stars including Todd Jacobsson (The Book Of Mormon) as Tony, Sophie Salvesani as Maria, Chloe Zuel (Ragtime, Beautiful; The Carol King Musical) as Anita, Noah Mullins as Riff, and Keanu Gonzalez (Aladdin) as Bernardo.
A modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet – West Side Story is set in a New York City enveloped by bitter tension between two teenage gangs: the Jets, self-styled Americans [led by Riff], and the Sharks, a group of young Puerto Ricans [led by Bernardo]. It remains as important and relevant today as it was when it was first created.
When the original Broadway production of West Side Story opened in 1957, musical theatre changed forever. The genius of its four creators, a remarkable collaboration between composer Leonard Bernstein, author Arthur Laurents, lyricist Stephen Sondheim and choreographer Jerome Robbins, produced a timeless masterpiece whose thrilling unity of music, dance, book and lyrics has been rarely matched since.
Director and choreographer Joey McKneely, a former pupil of Jerome Robbins, said he was blown away by the Australian talent in the production. “I am so pleased to have found these amazingly talented young artists to play these career-defining roles,” said McKneely. “Each one possesses such extraordinary naturalism in their acting, that it was captivating to watch them embody these characters. I cannot wait to bring their thrilling performances to Adelaide.”
McKneely’s vibrant staging of West Side Story has received world-wide acclaim since its premiere at London’s Sadler’s Wells. McKneely is a two-time Tony Award-nominated choreographer whose Broadway credits include Smokey Joe’s Café, The Life, Twelfth Night, The Wild Party and The Boy From Oz.
“Musicals like West Side Story only come along once in a lifetime. It is a privilege to be working with BB Group and Opera Australia to bring this production to Adelaide,” said Torben Brookman, director of GWB Entertainment. “The cast that has been assembled are the most exciting young performers from across the country.”
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini reiterated what a wonderful opportunity this would be for Adelaide audiences. “West Side Story is one of the greatest pieces of musical theatre ever written, which is evidenced by its continuing success around the world. We are honoured to be providing the platform for showcasing the talents of these rising stars of Australia.”
West Side Story
Festival Theatre – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 29 November – 8 December 2019
For more information, visit: www.westsidestory.com.au for details.
Image: West Side Story – photo by Jeff Busby