Stage Right Presents West Side Story
A groundbreaking musical took the stage at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957: West Side Story. As Leonard Bernstein, the composer, wrote to David Diamond, “This show is my baby…if it goes as well in New York as it has on the road we will have proved something very big indeed and maybe changed the face of American Musical Theatre.” The show certainly met all expectations garnering six Tony award nominations in 1958, including Best Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Costume Design, Best Conductor and Musical Director and winning Best Choreography (Jerome Robbins) and Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith). A film adaptation of the Broadway musical opened in 1961 starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including the Best Picture Oscar becoming the record holder for most wins for a musical. West Side Story is considered one of the greatest musical films of all time. The film was designated as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant by The Library of Congress”.
Although based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the conflict in the musical was based on social upheaval in the United States at that time. It is the story of two teenage gangs, the Sharks (Caucasian Americans) and the Jets (Puerto Rican immigrants), competing for control on New York City’s West Side. The Jets challenge the Sharks to a rumble which is to be held after an upcoming dance. Tony, co-founder and former member of the Jets, is convinced to attend the event and there he meets Maria, whose brother is Bernardo, a member of the Sharks. Tony and Maria are the star-crossed lovers of this contemporary tale. Maria, a recent Puerto Rican immigrant, works in a bridal shop with Anita, her good friend and Bernardo’s girlfriend.
The Stage Right production of West Side Story is directed by Cricket Pepper who brought the moving story of In the Heights to life last season. The multi-talented Cricket was last seen on stage playing the effervescent Doralee in the musical 9 to 5. She has choreographed The Addams Family, Cinderella, Peter Pan and Young Frankenstein and served as assistant director for Cinderella and Peter Pan for Stage Right. She has also worked as the choreographer for Concordia Lutheran School for Fiddler on the Roof and directed and choreographed Godspell. Cricket earned a Bachelor of Arts in Choreography and Performance from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Kaylee Duran (Maria) has been involved in theatre arts the past 10 years and will be attending the University of Houston for a Bachelor of Art in Music. West Side Story is Kaylee’s first production with Stage Right as well as her first major role in a musical. Nicholas Grant (Tony) has been acting on community stages for 19 years. His most notable credits include Newsies (Jack Kelly), Anastasia (Dimitry), Beauty and the Beast (Gaston), The Little Mermaid (Prince Eric). Elysze Ramis (Anita) is thrilled to make her debut with Stage Right as this endearing role in one of her favorite musicals. You may have seen her as Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical, Descendants, the Musical (Mal), Soldier and the Time Traveler (Beth) and Shrek (Young Fiona). Elysze is also a commissioned visual mixed media artist and enjoys traveling and languages.
West Side Story is onstage weekends February 9-February 25.
Don’t miss this vibrant and passionate show; it’s truly an American classic.
For tickets, call the box office at (936)441-7469 or visit stage-right.org.
Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for students.
Be sure you buy your tickets from the Crighton Theatre Box Office.
There other second market websites selling Stage Right tickets at a vastly inflated price.