Under the direction of Dana Tarantino, the students have collaborated on every level of the production being presented at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, located in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan where West Side Story takes place.
The West Side Story cast includes Adam Sansiveri (Tony), Abby Lee (Maria), Dan Kwiatkowski (Riff), Buenaventura Rodriguez (Bernardo), Heather Refvem (Anita), Danielle Lorick (Anybodys) and Juan Carlos Rodriguez (Chino).
The ensemble of Jets, Sharks and their girls comprises Chelsea Kilburn, Adrienne Scott, Ashley Bernal, Nova Pinero, Jessica Gonzalez, Antonia Marrero Ben Maddocks, Cedar Braasch, Eric Carpenter, James Beaudry, Keith Morales, Lenny Collado, Nick Carillo, Wilfree Vasquez, Giancarlo Castillo, Rosie Pignataro, Michelle Billingy, Sabrina Garcia, Brigida Valenzuela and Maria Garcia.
The students involved are receiving academic credit from John Jay College or the New York Arts Program. The cast also received some personal insight into the historic musical when Jamie Bernstein, daughter of late West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein, attended a November rehearsal to discuss her father's work and the significance of the musical.
The West Side Story creative team features Nicholas G.M. Ross (musical director and conductor), James Beaudry (choreography), Art Rotch (set design), Lucrecia Briceno (lighting design), Rosalie Contino (costumes design) and Susan Smale (sound design). A modern retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set on the West Side of Manhattan, West Side Story tells the tale of two doomed young lovers, Tony and Maria, who are inextricably linked to rival gangs, The Sharks (Puerto Rican immigrants) and The Jets (native New Yorkers).
Arthur Laurents penned the book, with a score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Jerome Robbins directed and choreographed the original production's electrifying dance numbers, which are re-created worldwide.
The Bernstein-Sondheim score features the American classics "Somewhere," "Tonight," "One Hand, One Heart," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty" and "America."
West Side Story runs through Dec. 8 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, located at 899 Tenth Ave in Manhattan. Tickets are available by calling (212) 695-6908.
Originally produced by theatrical impresario Harold Prince, West Side Story, for all its artistic ambition and achievement, would win only two 1958 Tony Awards for its debut: Best Choreography for Jerome Robbins and Best Scenic Design for Oliver Smith. That year's popular and quaint nostalgic hit, The Music Man, would sweep most of the categories.