By Andrew Gans
05 Aug 2009
John Arthur Greene has succeeded original star Cody Green in the role in the classic American musical. Greene played his first official performance as Riff Aug. 4, according to a production spokesperson.
John Arthur Greene is making his Broadway debut in West Side Story. He starred as Action in the European tour of the musical and was seen Off-Broadway in The Johnny and Luke in Mim.
The cast also features Matt Cavenaugh (A Catered Affair, Grey Gardens) as Tony, Tony winner Karen Olivo (In the Heights) as Anita and George Akram ("Stuck on You") as Bernardo. Argentinean actress Josefina Scaglione, who created the role of Amber Von Tussle in the Argentinean production of Hairspray, co-stars as Maria.
West Side Story has music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Laurents. The staging retains the original choreography of late director Jerome Robbins, who conceived the project by using Romeo and Juliet as inspiration. The Robbins choreography has been restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life).
"West Side Story transports the achingly beautiful tale of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the turbulent streets of the Upper West Side in 1950's New York City," according to the producers. "Two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between the rival street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, the 'Jets' and the 'Sharks.' Their struggle to exist together in a world of violence, hate and prejudice is one of the most heart-breaking, relevant and innovative musical masterpieces of our time."
The Bernstein and Sondheim score features such classics of the American musical theatre as "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere."
Robbins won the Tony Award for his groundbreaking choreography, and Oliver Smith took home the prize for Best Scenic Design. It was nominated as Best Musical but lost to The Music Man.
West Side Story is produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller with Terry Allen Kramer, Sander Jacobs, Roy Furman/Jill Furman Willis, Freddy DeMann, Robyn Goodman/Walt Grossman, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller, The Weinstein Company and Broadway Across America.
Tickets are available by visiting Ticketmaster.com or by calling (212) 307-4100.