International Award-Winning Production, West Side Story, Is Coming To New Zealand

Monday 12 September 2016

International Award-Winning Production, West Side Story, Is Coming To New Zealand

An international award-winning production of West Side Story, described as “the No. 1 greatest musical of all time” (The Times, UK), is set to electrify Auckland audiences when it comes to The Civic from Thursday, 22 June 2017 for a strictly limited season. The announcement was made today by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, the producers of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat also coming to New Zealand next year, as well as the forthcoming productions Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Beyond the Barricade, and the recent shows Cats, The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain and Annie.

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 and unforgettable score changed the face of musical theatre forever when it burst onto the Broadway stage in 1957.

Now a vibrant new stage production of the classic dance musical is receiving wild acclaim during sold-out seasons around the world, from London to Tokyo, and Sydney to Johannesburg.

West Side Story packs a powerful punch, both dramatically and musically. With choreography by the legendary Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show was ambitious in that each of the four aimed to contribute their talent equally and unreservedly. The result was awe-inspiring. They achieved a unity of music, dance, book and lyrics that no one had ever realised before, and that has hardly been matched since.

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.

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.

The action takes place over no more than a few hours of two consecutive days and portrays a love story, action thriller and social study all at the same time. West Side Story tells the tale of a love between two young people whose happiness is destroyed by the hate of two enemy camps in New York City’s urban jungle.

West Side Story has been produced three times on Broadway, twice in London’s West End, and enjoyed numerous US, UK and international tours over the last 60 years. The movie version, released in 1961, went on to win an incredible 10 Oscars (including Best Picture) and further cemented the reputation of this undoubted masterpiece.

Don’t miss your chance to see this celebrated production of the greatest Broadway musical of all time.

BB Promotion GmbH in association with Sundance Productions, Inc. NY, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and David Atkins Enterprises present a production of Michael Brenner.

“If You Buy One Ticket, Make It This One” – The Observer (UK)
“This Is A Show That Truly Has It All. Blazingly Undiminished” - The Sunday Express (UK)

West Side Story
Auckland - From Thursday 22 June 2017 - The Civic