West Side Story heads to Adelaide Festival Centre this November

WSS-Photography of the international cast by Johan Persson, Nilz Boehme, Susanne Brill and Liam TobinOpera Australia and GWB Entertainment have announced that one of the most celebrated musicals of all time, West Side Story will play a limited season at Adelaide Festival Centre from 28 November 2019.

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, and the Sharks, a group of young Puerto Ricans – 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.

The timeless theatrical classic will feature some of Australia’s most exciting rising stars including Todd Jacobsson (Book Of Mormon) as Tony, Sophie Salvesani as Maria, Chloe Zuel (Beautiful) as Anita, Noah Mullins as Riff, and Lyndon Watts (Aladdin) as Bernardo.

The all Australian cast of 33 also features Ritchie Singer as Doc, Paul Dawber as Lt. Schrank, Dean Vince as Officer Krupke and Paul Hanlon as Glad Hand.

The Jets ensemble will include South Australians Joshua Taylor and Sarah Dimas with Nicholas Collins, Christian Ambesi, Nathan Pavey, Blake Tuke, Sebastien Golenko, Molly Bugeja, Joseph Donovan, Natasha O’Hehir, Angelica Di Clemente and Taylah Small.

The Sharks ensemble will feature Anthony Garcia, Keanu Gonzalez, Daniel Assetta, Matt Antonucci, Jason Yang-Westland, Brady Kitchingham, Daniel Wijngaarden, Zoe Ioannou, Olivia Carniato, Nikki Croker, Amba Fewster and Ariana Mazzeo.

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,” he said.

“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,” said Torben Brookman, Director GWB Entertainment. “It is a privilege to be working with BB Group and Opera Australia to bring this production to Adelaide. 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 will 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,” he said. “We are honoured to be providing the platform for showcasing the talents of these rising stars of Australia.”

West Side Story will play a strictly limited season at Adelaide Festival Centre in November following seasons in Melbourne (6 – 28 April), Sydney (16 August – 6 October) and Canberra (10 – 27 October). Tickets for the Adelaide season go on sale 3 May 2019. Join the waitlist at: www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au

For more information about West Side Story, visit: www.westsidestory.com.au for details.

Image: West Side Story – photo of the international cast by Johan Persson, Nilz Boehme, Susanne Brill and Liam Tobin