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West Side Story


Fri 30 Jun 2017, 7:30pm–10:00pm
Sat 1 Jul 2017, 2:30pm–5:00pm
Sat 1 Jul 2017, 7:30pm–10:00pm
Sun 2 Jul 2017, 1:00pm–3:30pm
Sun 2 Jul 2017, 6:00pm–8:30pm

Where: The Civic, Cnr Queen & Wellesley Sts, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

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Listed by: sandrakjp

In Auckland to see two of the greatest rugby gangs go head to head? Gangs. We know all about them. Get some tips on gang warfare when New York's toughest do battle in the world's greatest dance musical, West Side Story.

The Civic stage will be set ablaze with an outstanding all-American cast, many of whom come directly from Broadway when the musical premiered on 22 June -- the perfect precursor to the Lions v All Blacks match up.

The 32-strong cast - chosen at auditions held at Pearl Studios New York City - will stun audiences with their impassioned high-energy dance routines and astounding vocal range in such classic songs as Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty.

Featuring a live orchestra of 21 world-class musicians - personally selected by Maestro Donald Chan who has been musical director and conductor of this show more than 3000 times - West Side Story is deservedly described as the “No. 1 greatest musical of all time” (The Times, UK).

Inspired by Shakespeare’s tumultuous love story Romeo and Juliet, and set amidst the vicious rivalry of teenage gangs in 1950s New York, West Side Story's ground-breaking choreography by Jerome Robbins and an unforgettable score by Leonard Bernstein changed the face of musical theatre forever when it burst onto the Broadway stage in 1957.

This new production of West Side Story is as daring, realistic and relevant today as it was on the day of its premiere.

This dance spectacular features the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, under the direction of Joey McKneely who learned his craft from Robbins himself as a dancer in West Side Story. This is the only production currently showing and dancing the original choreography and is the very first time it will be performed in New Zealand.

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. Kevin has had a substantial repertoire of roles: as well as being nominated for an 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, 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.

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 the 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 been involved in this production of West Side Story from the very beginning, having performed in the show on Broadway and during its first US tour.

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