Reviewed By: James Murray Premiering in 1957 Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo &…
Drury Lane’s WEST SIDE STORY Directed by Rachel Rockwell and Featuring Jim DeSelm and Christina Nieves Runs Jan. 15 – March 22
Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, is kicking off the New Year with WEST SIDE STORY, the revolutionary Tony Award-winning production that forever changed American musical theater. Experience the passion, drama and heart-pounding excitement of WEST SIDE STORY like never before. The production previews January 15, opens January 22 and runs through March 22. Multi-Jeff Award winner Rachel Rockwell (Les Misérables, Ragtime, The Sound of Music, Sweeney Todd, and Oliver! at Drury Lane Theatre) will direct, and Rhett Guter (who starred in the International Tour of WEST SIDE STORY and Choreographed Anything Goes at The Utah Shakespeare Festival) serves as Choreographer and Associate Director and stars as “Riff.”The musical’s famous choreography is being reimagined says Rockwell, “Modern re-stagings of the famous dances often romanticize the violence of the piece. As we restructure the brilliant work of Jerome Robbins, much of the balletic movement will be replaced with more percussive dance and in some cases outright combat to depict the tragedy as the two rival street gangs wage a war in the back alleys of Manhattan.” WEST SIDE STORY features a dynamic cast led by Christina Nieves as “Maria” (Les Misérables at Drury Lane Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Sins of Sor Juana at Goodman Theatre), Jim DeSelm as “Tony” (Godspell at Theatre at the Center and South Pacific at Marriott Theatre), and Michelle Aravena as “Anita” (Rocky, A Chorus Line, and Jersey Boys on Broadway and the National Tour of West Side Story).
WEST SIDE STORY is a provocative exploration of race relations with an underlying message of hope that is as relevant today as ever. Variety raves that the musical “Still dazzles after more than 50 years. Majestic! Some of the most achingly beautiful expressions of love ever sung!” The San Francisco Chronicle exclaims that it is “A miraculous fusion of theatrical elements…full of musical treasures!” and the New Yorker enthuses that WEST SIDE STORY is “So exciting it makes you ache with pleasure!”
A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1950s, WEST SIDE STORY is the poignant tale of Tony and Maria, star-crossed young lovers caught in a turf war between rival gangs. The musical has an electrifying Latin and Jazz-infused score including “Somewhere,” “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty,” and “America.” WEST SIDE STORY first premiered on Broadway in 1957 and is the result of a collaboration between three theatrical luminaries, featuring a masterful Book by Tony Award-winner Arthur Laurents, Music by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Leonard Bernstein and Lyrics by Tony, Grammy, Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winner Stephen Sondheim. The smash hit 1961 film version of WEST SIDE STORY won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and catapulted the musical to the center of the national conversation.
The cast also features John Francis Gray as “Officer Krupke,” Roger Mueller as “Doc” (Brigadoon at Goodman Theatre and My One and Only at Marriott Theatre), Lucas Segovia as “Bernardo” (Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet with Joffrey Ballet Chicago), Bret Tuomi as “Lt. Shrank” (Rock of Ages on Broadway and The Iceman Cometh at Goodman Theatre) and Tommy Rivera Vega as “Chino” (Cats at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater). The ensemble includes Adrian Aguilar (“Action”), Isaiah Allatorre (“Anxious”), Anthony Avino (“Indio”), Larry Baldacci (“Gladhand”), Annelise Baker (“Graziella”), Lillian Castillo (“Rosalia”), Courtney Cerny (“Minnie”), Carl Draper (“Diesel”), Cameron Erdis (“Snowboy”), Lucas Fedele (“A-rab”), Ryan Fitzgerald (“Big Deal”), Rachel Marie LaPorte (“Consuela”), Kristina Larson-Hauk (“Pauline”), John Marshall, Jr. (“Baby John”), Deanna Ott (“Velma”), Chip Payos (“Nibbles”), Todd Rhoades (“Luis”), Elena Romanowski (“Teresita”), Emma Rosenthal (“Anybodys”), Will Skrip (“Gee-Tar”), Glenn Snellgrose (“Pepe”) and Lauren Villegas (“Francisca”).
Musical Direction for WEST SIDE STORY is by Roberta Duchak (Les Misérables and Ragtime at Drury Lane Theatre, and vocal coach for Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman for the Academy Award-winning film Les Misérables). The set, designed by Scott Davis (Les Misérables and Next to Normal at Drury Lane Theatre and Shrek the Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater), recreates the gritty streets and Upper West Side apartment living in 1950s New York City. The artistic team also includes Nick Heggestad as Properties Designer (Camelot and The Game’s Afoot at Drury Lane Theatre), Rick Jarvie as Wig and Makeup Designer (Camelot, The Game’s Afoot and The Sound of Music at Drury Lane Theatre), Yael Lubetzky as Lighting Designer (the Broadway production of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam), Ray Nardelli as Sound Designer (Camelot, Young Frankenstein, and Next to Normal at Drury Lane Theatre), Erika Senase as Costume Coordinator (Camelot, Les Misérables and Young Frankenstein at Drury Lane Theatre) and Original Costume Design is by David Woolard , featuring costumes from the 2012 National Tour. Eva Breneman is the Dialect Coach (Camelot and Les Misérables at Drury Lane Theatre) and Matt Hawkins is the Fight Choreographer (Les Misérables at Drury Lane Theatre and The Wheel and Belleville at Steppenwolf Theatre Company).
The performance schedule for WEST SIDE STORY is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. ($45), Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. ($45) and 8 p.m. ($50), Fridays at 8 p.m. ($60), Saturdays at 5 p.m. ($60), and 8:30 p.m. ($60), and Sundays at 2 p.m. ($60), and 6 p.m. ($55). Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $35 for matinees. For reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, call TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit www.drurylane.com.