Prelude, Fugue & Riffs: Fall/Winter 2008/2009

West Side Story Returns to Broadway

West Side Story will return to Broadway in a new production directed by Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book of the show. Produced by Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller with Terry Allen Kramer, Freddy DeMann, Roy Furman, Robyn Goodman, Walter Grossman, Sander Jacobs, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller and Broadway Across America, West Side Story will open on Broadway on Thursday, March 19, 2009 with preview performances beginning on Monday, February 23, 2009 at the Palace Theatre. From December 15, 2008 through January 17, 2009, West Side Story will play an out-of-town engagement at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., where the musical had its world premiere in 1957. The original Jerome Robbins choreography will be restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life).

"This show will be radically different from any other production of West Side Story ever done," said Arthur Laurents, who was recently nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for his direction of Gypsy, another one of his shows. "The musical theatre and cultural conventions of 1957 made it next to impossible for the characters to have authenticity. Every member of both gangs was always a potential killer even then. Now they actually will be. Only Tony and Maria try to live in a different world."

This production, with Patrick Vaccariello conducting 30 musicians in the orchestra pit, will introduce the unprecedented element of selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs.

West Side Story, which premiered at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957, features one of Broadway's most luminescent collaborations. Jerome Robbins, who conceived the idea for the musical, was joined in its creation by three theatrical luminaries: Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics).

West Side Story transports the iconic tale of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent streets of New York City's Upper West Side in the 1950's. The star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between rival street gangs of different cultural backgrounds. The lovers' doomed struggle to exist together in a world of violence, hate and prejudice inspired one of the most innovative musical masterpieces of all time.

West Side Story features such classic songs of the American musical theatre as Something's Coming, Tonight, America, I Feel Pretty and Somewhere.

The cast of 37 will star Matt Cavenaugh (A Catered Affair, Grey Gardens) as "Tony," Karen Olivo (In the Heights) as "Anita," Cody Green (Movin' Out) as "Riff" and George Akram (The Farrelly's Stuck on You) as "Bernardo." The role of "Maria" will be played by Broadway newcomer Josefina Scaglione from Buenos Aires. She was choosen for the role after an exhaustive international search. Also in the cast will be Steve Bassett as "Lt. Schrank," Kyle Brenn as "Boy Soprano," Joshua Buscher as "Diesel," Mike Cannon as "Snowboy," Kyle Coffman as "Arab," Joey Haro as "Chino," Eric Hatch as "Big Deal," Curtis Holbrook as "Action," Michael Mastro as "Glad Hand" Danielle Polanco as "Consuela," Jennifer Sanchez as "Rosalia," Lee Sellars as "Krupke," Tro Shaw as "Anybodys," Ryan Steele as "Baby John," Greg Vinkler as "Doc" alongwith Madeline Cintron, Lindsay Dunn, Matthew Hydzik, Marina Lazzaretto, Chase Madigan, Kaitlin Mesh, Pamela Otterson, Sam Rogers and Amy Ryerson as "The Jets" and Isaac Calpito, Haley Carlucci, Peter John Chursin, Yurel Echezaretta, Manuel Herrera, Yanira Marin, Mileyka Mateo, Kat Nejat, Christian Elan Ortez, Michael Rosen, Manuel Santos, Michaeljon Slinger and Tanairi Sade Vazquez as "The Sharks."

Tickets for the new Broadway production of West Side Story are available through Tickets for the pre-Broadway engagement at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. are on sale through

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