MANILA: The electrifying classic WEST SIDE STORY is ready to set the Manila stage ablaze with an outstanding all-American cast, many of whom come direct from Broadway, when the musical premieres at The Theatre at Solaire on 10 August 2017. Presented by Globe LIVE, tickets for WEST SIDE STORY are now on sale through TicketWorld.
In a sweltering New York summer, the boys from the Upper West Side neighbourhood are on the prowl. Ready to explode at any moment they dance with their girls, the air vibrating with the rhythms of mambo, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. They belong to two enemy street gangs ruling the immigrant quarter – the Jets and the Sharks – and a clash is imminent. The Jets, sons of previous immigrants to America, are fighting the new arrivals from Puerto Rico, the Sharks, for domination of the streets in the area. Among them, Tony, a Jet, and Maria, sister to the leader of the Sharks, fall in love.
Former Les Miserables principal Kevin Hack takes on the role of Tony, a member of the Jets who falls in love with Maria. Kevin has had a substantial repertoire of roles: as well as being nominated for a NJACT Award for his portrayal of Enjolras in Les Misèrables in the US, his role as Captain Billy Pierce in The Civil War earned him a nomination for “Best Lead Actor”. Kevin has also played Gabe in Next to Normal and has participated in The Broadway Concert: Live, where he shared a stage with Broadway superstars.
Jenna Burns reprises her role as Maria, the sister to the leader of the Sharks who catches Tony’s eye and wins his heart. Jenna lives in New York and is delighted to return to the world of WEST SIDE STORY having recently played the role of Maria at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida. Further professional engagements include Cinderella in Into the Woods, Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde the Musical.
Kevin Hack and Jenna Burns as star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria - Photo credit Johan Persson
Anita will be played by Keely Beirne, who has been dreaming of playing the iconic role since she was introduced to the show when she was six years old. Beirne has acted in numerous US touring productions, including After Midnight, Memphis and Smokey Joe’s Cafe, where she performed the role of Brenda. Broadway’s Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva assumes the role of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks; Quinones-Villanueva has performed in WEST SIDE STORY on Broadway and during the first US tour. Lance Hayes will be playing Riff, leader of the Jets and Bernardo’s nemesis. Hayes has recently toured the US with Disney‘s Beauty and the Beast. He has also performed at many regional houses, in shows that include Disney‘s Mary Poppins, The Producers and The Little Mermaid at Olney Theatre Center, and Carrie: The Musical at Studio Theatre in D.C.
Described as ‘the No. 1 greatest musical of all time’ by The Times, UK, WEST SIDE STORY is inspired by Shakespeare’s tumultuous love story Romeo and Juliet, and is set amidst the vicious rivalry of teenage gangs in 1950s New York. Its ground-breaking choreography and unforgettable score changed the face of musical theatre for ever when it burst onto the Broadway stage in 1957. This timeless story of Tony and Maria and their fateful love affair remains as relevant today as it has ever been.
Youthful desires, fears and swagger described so tersely and precisely in Arthur Laurent’s script, have been masterfully translated by legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins into some of the most exhilarating dance routines in the world of musical theatre, full of provocative finger snapping from street gangs and Puerto Rican girls’ whirling skirts on New York City’s flat rooftops.
The now-famous score by Leonard Bernstein braved uncharted waters at the time it was written, and combines influences from American jazz with classical and Latin American music to create a sublime work of art.
Stephen Sondheim, then only an unknown young musician and lyricist who would later rise to great musical heights with works such as Gypsy, Sweeny Todd and Into The Woods, managed to condense the painful process of coming-of-age, passionate love and fateful conflict into concise and punchy song lyrics.
This new production of WEST SIDE STORY is as daring, realistic and relevant today as it was on the day of its premiere. Jerome Robbins’ original choreography has been recreated by director and choreographer Joey McKneely, a former pupil of Jerome Robbins. Musical supervisor is the renowned conductor Donald Chan, who studied under Bernstein himself, and who leads a live orchestra of 20 musicians.
An outstanding international cast will electrify audiences with their impassioned high-energy dance routines and their astounding vocal range in such classic songs as Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty.
WEST SIDE STORY is a Michael Brenner production, produced by BB Promotion GmbH in association with Sundance Productions, Inc. NY, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and David Atkins Enterprises.