New Orleanian Sarah Jane McMahon (New York City Opera's Acis and Galatea and The Pirates of Penzance) plays Maria in the Manhattan-set musical inspired by Romeo and Juliet. Louisiana native Matthew Morgan is Tony.
Karen Azenberg directs and choreographs the new production of the groundbreaking 1957 musical by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents. Azenberg choreographed Pioneer Theatre's hit 2007 production of Les Miserables, and has credits at major resident theatres throughout the nation. She'll direct and choreograph another new West Side Story production for Alabama Shakespeare Festival. It plays July 18-Aug. 24.
Robert Lyall is general and artistic director of New Orleans Opera Association. He'll conduct the classic score.
The musical about a white gang battling a Latino gang (in the West 66th Street area of Manhattan) will be revived on Broadway in the coming year, in a production directed by librettist Laurents. Famed for its serious themes and its seamless merging of song, story and dance (Jerome Robbins was its original conceiver, director and choreographer), West Side Story includes the now-famous musical numbers "Somewhere," "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty," "Maria" and "America." The company also includes David Vaughn as Riff, Thomas Graham as Bernardo, Terra MacLeod as Anita, Freddy Ramirez as Action, Timothy Hughes as Diesel, Josh Peterson as Snow Boy, Tyler Fields as Big Deal, Chase Kamata as Rosalia, Brandi Cotogno as Consuelo, Trina Beck as Teresita, Leah Kahn as Francisca, Joi Warner as Margarita, Julian Alvarez as Chino, Marco Puente as Indio, Richard Gatta as Luis, Christopher Woods as Anxious, Nicole Eckrich as Jet Girl 1, Megan Ross as Jet Girl 2, Carrie Black as Jet Girl 3, Peter Gabb as Doc, Kristopher Shaw as Schrank, Jason Kirkpatrick as Krupke and Vatican Lokey as Gladhand.
New Orleans Opera is expected to return its Hurricane Katrina-damaged home — the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts — in 2009.
West Side Story tickets range in price from $30-$120 and can be purchased at the box office at 1010 Common Street, New Orleans, or by calling (504) 529-2278.
For more information, visit www.neworleansopera.org.