VICTORIA, B.C. – The Canadian College of Performing Arts is presenting as the final production of its 2018-2019 season the iconic Broadway musical West Side Story, opening April 19 at the McPherson Playhouse.
Inspired by one of the greatest love stories of all time, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the classic 1957 musical is set during the mid-50s in New York’s Upper West Side, where two rival teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds – the Jets, a local all American street gang, and the Sharks, from Puerto Rico – wage war. The show’s dramatic tension arises from the fallout when Tony, a former member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks.
With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story changed the face of the American musical and yielded some of the most memorable Broadway showtunes of all time, including Tonight, I Feel Pretty, Maria, America, and Gee, Officer Krupke.
The CCPA production welcomes an all-star creative team of its own, including director Matthew Howe, choreographer Sara-Jeanne Hosie, and music director Heather Burns. The College’s season finale also has the distinction of having Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, Artistic Director of Puente Theatre, on board as the production’s artistic consultant to ensure accuracy and sensitive treatment of the musical’s cultural elements.
Lauded for its ground-breaking fusion of dazzling choreography, an unforgettable score and how it tackled social problems and addressed timely issues such as bigotry and racial injustice, West Side Story, which inspired the beloved 1961 movie musical starring Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, has withstood the test of time.
With a cast of 55 accompanied by a live 14-piece orchestra, the College’s ambitious new production promises to underscore this hallmark, addressing issues no less relevant today.
What: West Side Story
Who: Canadian College of Performing Arts
When: April 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m., April 20 and 27 at 2 p.m.
Where: McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Square
Tickets can be purchased through the McPherson Playhouse box office by visiting rmts.bc.ca or calling 250-386-6121. For general enquires call 250-595-9970.
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Michael D. Reid
Public Relations Liaison