One of the most celebrated musicals of all time, West Side Story will play for a strictly limited season at Wellington’s Opera House next month.
The Opera Australia, GWB Entertainment and BB Group production of West Side Story will play a New Zealand exclusive limited season in Wellington from 6 to 16 June ahead of its international tour of Germany and season at Sydney Opera House.
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. The genius of its four creators, a remarkable collaboration between Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins, produced a masterpiece whose artistic quality remains unquestioned to this day. Now former pupil of Jerome Robbins, Joey McKneely’s vibrant new stage production returns to New Zealand after wild acclaim worldwide.
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.
GWB Entertainment’s Torben Brookman said "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. It is a privilege to bring this internationally acclaimed production to Wellington audiences in 2019."
The cast of 33 features a dynamic mix of established performers alongside some of Australia and New Zealand’s most exciting emerging talent in this celebrated production. The production will feature Todd Jacobsson as Tony, Sophie Salvesani as Maria, Chloe Zuel as Anita, Noah Mullins as Riff, and Lyndon Watts as Bernardo. Joining them is Ritchie Singer as Doc, Paul Dawber as Lt. Schrank, Dean Vince as Officer Krupke and Paul Hanlon as Glad Hand.
As "The Jets" the ensemble will include Joshua Taylor, Nicholas Collins, Christian Ambesi, Nathan Pavey, Blake Tuke, Sebastien Golenko, Molly Bugeja, Joseph Donovan with Natasha O’Hehir, Angelica Di Clemente, Taylah Small and Sarah Dimas.
Completing the cast as "The Sharks" will be Anthony Garcia, Keanu Gonzalez, Daniel Assetta, Matt Antonucci, Jason Yang-Westland, Brady Kitchingham, Daniel Wijngaarden with Zoe Ioannou, Olivia Carniato, Nikki Croker, Amba Fewster and Ariana Mazzeo.
"A thrilling, hurtling triumph." - The Observer, UK
"No.1 Greatest musical of all time." - The Times, UK