West Side Story heads to Brisbane this July

Opera-Australia-West-Side-Story-(Australian-Cast-2019)-photo-by-Jeff-BusbyOne of the most celebrated musicals of all time, Opera Australia and GWB Entertainment has announced their rescheduled dates for the acclaimed BB Group production of West Side Story will play a limited season at QPAC’S Lyric Theatre from 23 July 2021.

Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini reiterated what a wonderful opportunity this will be for Brisbane audiences. “West Side Story is one of the greatest pieces of musical theatre ever written, which is evidenced by sold out performances worldwide,” he said.

“Finally bringing the production back to Australia in 2021, to continue the success of the 2019 international tour, was an opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up,” said Mr Terracini.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said, West Side Story with its celebrated choreography and its beloved story, score and songs, would thrill both seasoned fans and new audiences. “We know Brisbane audiences love musicals and this is one of the best and most enduring of them all,” he said.

“After cancelling the season last year due to COVID, we’ve been determined to work with Opera Australia and GWB Entertainment to reschedule, so it’s gratifying to see this acclaimed Australian production come to fruition,” said Mr Kotzas.

A modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet; this tragic love story tells the tale of two young people whose happiness is destroyed by the hate of two enemy camps in New York City’s urban jungle. The ‘Jets’, sons of previous immigrants to America, battle the new arrivals from Puerto Rico, the ‘Sharks’, for domination of the streets.

When the original West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957, musical theatre changed forever as the most complex and challenging unity of music, dance, book and lyrics was realised in a way which has been rarely matched since.

Hailed as the greatest Broadway musical of all time, the genius of West Side Story’s creators is unquestioned. The remarkable collaboration between Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins produced a timeless masterpiece.

Bernstein’s world-famous score features unforgettable songs including Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty – that have been universally adored for generations; proving this iconic dance musical remains one of the most poignant stage works of the twentieth century.

Now former pupil of Jerome Robbins, Joey McKneely’s vibrant new stage production returns to Australia after wild acclaim world-wide. Since the first world tour in 2003, there have been more than 1500 performances of McKneely’s award-winning production of West Side Story.

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. This piece transformed musical theatre around the world and is as relevant today as it was when first staged,” said GWB Entertainment’s Torben Brookman. “It is a privilege to be working with BB Group, Opera Australia and QPAC to bring this production to Brisbane.”

Director & Choreographer: Joey McKneely | Musical Supervisor: Donald Chan | Set Designer: Paul Gallis | Costume Designer: Renate Schmitzer | Make-up Designer: Hannelore Uhrmacher | Sound Designer: Matt Grounds | Lighting Designer: Peter Halbsgut

West Side Story
Lyric Theatre – QPAC, cnr Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Brisbane
Season: 23 July – 22 August 2021
Bookings: www.qpac.com.au

For more information, visit: www.westsidestory.com.au for details.

Image: West Side Story (Australian Cast, 2019) – photo by Jeff Busby