Chita Rivera and Carol Lawrence, who originated the roles of Anita and Maria, respectively, in the landmark 1957 musical West Side Story, will lead a 60th anniversary reunion of the cast September 27 in New York City.
Also announced to take part in a public panel of original cast members are Grover Dale (Snowboy), Martin Charnin (Big Deal), and Tony Mordente (A-Rab). The event is being organized as a benefit for the organization Dancers Over 40, on whose board both Rivera and Lawrence serve.
The 8 PM panel will take place at St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, in Manhattan. The original production opened September 26, 1957, at the Winter Garden Theatre, just a few blocks east of the reunion site.
Charnin will moderate the panel, which will feature stories about what it was like backstage during the final weeks before the opening. Also scheduled to take part: Marilyn D’Honau (Clarice), Ronnie Lee (Nibbles), George Marcy (Pepe), Liane Plane (Marguerita), Jaime Sanchez (Chino), and David Winters (Baby John). The panel is scheduled to be videotaped and donated to the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
Matt Rodin will host the event, which will also feature live performances by Drama Desk Award winner Jay Armstrong Johnson (On the Town), along with surprise guests. There will also be displays of video and photographs chronicling the creation of the show based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but with the action transposed to the streets of 1950s inner city Manhattan where two teen gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks and the Anglo Jets, clash over the same turf. Special music arrangements are by Ross Baum with music direction by Curtis Reynolds.
Tickets are on sale now. They cost $25 for members of Dancers Over 40 (with discount code), $45 regular seating for non-members, and $65 for premium seats. Non-member tickets can be ordered at Telecharge online or by calling (212) 239-6200. Tickets are also being sold at the St. Luke’s box office, 308 West 46th Street, 2–6 PM daily.
Chita Rivera has been a special guest performer on Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Cabins are available for Broadway on the Danube River with Michael Feinstein for November 3–13, also featuring Rachel Bay Jones, Julia Murney, Christopher Fitzgerald, Marc Kudisch, Christopher Sieber, Brandon Uranowitz, and Seth Rudetsky.
Tickets are also now on sale for Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas July 2018 cruise to Iceland, accompanied by Judy Kuhn, Christine Ebersole, Rob McClure, Jarrod Spector, Carmen Cusack, and Sierra Boggess. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information.