HFAC presents West Side Story in June
From a press release:
Houston Family Arts Center (HFAC) is proud to present the iconic masterpiece West Side Story. Created by perhaps the greatest collaborative team in musical theatre history, Jerome Robbins' landmark adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet features a sweeping and intensely romantic score by Leonard Bernstein, witty and moving lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a powerful book by Arthur Laurents and has touched countless audiences for over fifty years.
West Side Story features some of Broadway's most beloved music including: Somewhere," One Hand, One Heart," Tonight," America" and Maria." In addition to winning two Tony Awards and the Academy Award for Best Picture, West Side Story became one of the most successful shows ever produced on Broadway.
We are excited to present this energetic and widely acclaimed musical," said Bob Clark, Executive Director. West Side Story is the classic American musical of two rival youth gangs in New York City (Jets and Sharks) whose battle for turf and superiority provides the backdrop to an exploration of youth gangs, prejudice and the romance of two young people caught in a violent cross-cultural struggle. The electrifying music of Leonard Bernstein and the prophetic lyrics of Stephen Sondheim paint a picture as relevant today as it was fifty years ago."
Ilich Guardiola, director, explained, West Side Story is a perfect blend of all the disciplines encompassed in what we know generically as musical theatre. More than in most musicals, the book, music, lyrics, staging, choreography, acting, singing and dancing come together as a perfectly unified whole speaking with one voice that is greater than all its parts."
Guardiola continued, West Side Story's unconventionality made it a big shock for 1957 audiences with integrated dance choreography from the director/choreographer and theatre luminary Jerome Robbins, dissonant and driving jazz inspired score from the brilliant maestro Leonard Bernstein, and the lyrics of the genius Stephen Sondheim (celebrating his 80th birthday this year). It is a musical about star crossed love, hate and prejudice, as well as hope and tolerance and acceptance. It was championed by the critics, but audiences largely ignored it as they favored the concurrently running The Music Man which swept the Tony Awards that year. However, its brilliance could not be denied and with the help of the very successful 1961 film version West Side Story has been able to capture the audience's imagination with many revivals it has become one of the most produced musicals in the musical theatre cannon. "
West Side Story is one of those shows that is extremely difficult to produce, the challenging score, book, and choreography will test even the most professional of companies," Ilich stated. To be a producer you must have the faith that you can put together a crack team of directors, musical directors and most importantly choreographers that can dissect and the reassemble the many themes and motifs in this beautifully crafted piece of theatre. The director, musical director, choreographer, and producer must then have faith that the right performers will walk into auditions...the mythical "triple threats" these actors have to be able to sing dance and most importantly act this very athletic and visceral script. Luckily for HFAC and most importantly our audiences, that is exactly what has happened! It is thrilling to be a part of this West Side team and when you come see this show in the very intimate setting of the wonderful Garza Mainstage you will see why. This summer come keep Cool with us in West Side Story!!"
Although the choreography in West Side Story is technical and challenging, the main purpose of it is to further the story, said Ellen Dyer, choreographer. The movement usually comes from tension- ranging from innocent adolescent tension at The Dance at The Gym" to the volatile undertones of fatality in Cool". The choreography in West Side Story serves as a release for the characters and audience alike."
Director Ilich Guardiola will be joined by Ellen Dyer, choreographer, and Sam Brown, musical director, for this production.
The energetic cast of 45 comes from all over Houston. Playing the role of the young lovers will be Sam Brown as Tony and Kelley Peters as Maria. Other members of the cast include Luke Hamilton as Riff, LaKiaya Evans as Anita and David Porras as Bernardo.
The following round out the cast of West Side Story:
Action Justin Dresner
A-Rab Matt Buzonas
Baby John Keenan Hurley
Snowboy Logan Vaden
Big Deal Michael Williams
Diesel Jordan Miller
Gee-Tar Ryan Jacobs
Mouthpiece Austin Jacobs
Tiger Jacob Kirchoff
Anybodys Jessie Brownie
Velma Lindsey Wurdeman
Graziella Haley Landers
Pauline Savannah Minnery
Minnie Nicole Steakley
Clarice Hattie Marks
Other Jet Ladies: Lexi Schreiber, Lindy Hockaday, Libby Jasper, Katelyn Mattingly
Chino Johnny Luna
Pepe Travis Duane Baggett
Indio Francis Vu
Luis Dominique Watkins
Nibbles Connor Heaton
Juano Sonny Woodcock
Toro Allan Lawrence
Moose Hayden Parsley
Rosalia Tiffany Hopper
Consuelo Pamela M. Moore
Teresita Anna Liu
Francisca Rachel Burns
Estella Mackenzie Haffey
Margarita Abigail Sibayan
Other Shark ladies: Emily Prince, Anna Conover
Officer Krupke David Branson
Detective Schrank David Chrisman
Gladhand Josh Clark
Doc Chuck Pickering
Maria's Mother Meredith Mearns
Child Veronica McLaren
Director Ilich Guardiola
Musical Director Sam Brown
Choreographer Ellen Dyer
Stage Manager Teri Clark
Asst. Stage Manager David Allen III
Lighting Designer Ron Putterman
Sound Designer Tracy Clayton
Prop Mistress Elizabeth Revelise
Producer Bob Clark
Ticket and Schedule Information
All performances of West Side Story will be held on the Garza Mainstage at Houston Family Arts Center, 10760 Grant Road, Houston, TX 77070.
Tickets: $16/adults, $14/seniors (65+), $12/students. For tickets and additional information call 281-685-6374 or select your seats online at www.houstonfac.com.
Performance dates and times:
Friday, June 25 at 8:00 PM Saturday, July 3 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 26 at 8:00 PM Thursday, July 8 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 27 at 3:00 PM Friday, July 9 at 8:00 PM
Thursday, July 1 at 8:00 PM Saturday, July 10 at 3:00 PM
Friday, July 2 at 8:00 PM Saturday, July 10 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, July 3 at 3:00 PM Sunday, July 11 at 3:00 PM