You’ve probably seen the billboards around town: Vancouver Opera (VO) is doing something very different for their 2011/2012 season opener. Rather than open with a traditional opera, they’re bringing the full-scale, Broadway-show version of the popular musical West Side Story to Vancouver for eight performances, starting this Saturday, October 22.
West Side Story brings the thwarted romance of Romeo and Juliet to the streets of 1957 New York. In this version, the lovers separated by their opposing families are Tony, an Irish Catholic affiliated with the street gang Jets, and Maria, a Puerto Rican whose family is involved with the street gang Sharks. Tony and Maria’s secret love sets up a show-down between the rival Jets and Sharks that involves some of the most acclaimed choreography in Broadway history, choreography that the VO brings to life in its entirety.
Not only is the VO replicating Jerome Robbins’s original, Tony-award winning choreography, their 30-piece live orchestra will soar through the play’s famous music, including “Maria,” “I Feel Pretty” and (my personal favourite) “America,” while the 40-person cast sings and dances their socks off.
Tenor Colin Ainsworth, who performed in the VO’s Lillian Alling, plays Tony, while soprano Lucia Cesaroni makes her Vancouver debut as Maria. You can watch interviews with the VO West Side Story cast and crew at the Vancouver Opera site.
Tickets for the Vancouver Opera’s West Side Story are on sale now. Performances run October 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, & 29, 2011.