WEST SIDE STORY Tour Ends Philadelphia Run 4/8

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The tour of the Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY is coming to Philadelphia. WEST SIDE STORY performs at the Academy of Music through April 8 as part of the Broadway Season, presented by The Kimmel Center and The Shubert Organization. Tony Award-winning librettist Arthur Laurents’ Broadway direction will be recreated for the tour by David Saint, the Associate Director on Broadway. The original Jerome Robbins choreography is reproduced by Tony Award-nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life). 

Tickets ranging in price from $20 to $100 are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at kimmelcenter.org/broadway, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad & Spruce Sts. (open daily 10 am to 6 pm) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad & Locust Sts. (open during performances only).

Groups of 10 or more will receive discounts for select performances by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947. Performances include: Tuesday – Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm; Friday & Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm; Sunday evening at 6:30 pm; and matinees Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm.

The new Broadway cast album of WEST SIDE STORY won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album on January 31, 2010. The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway’s finest and features such classics of the American musical theatre as “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.”

The new Broadway production began previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway Monday, February 23, 2009, opened to critical acclaim breaking box office records at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, March 19, 2009, and recouped its $14 million investment after running only 30 weeks. The Broadway production played its final performance January 2, 2011. The musical played 27 previews and 748 regular performances, making it the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history. The original production, which had held the record, played 732 performances on Broadway.

WEST SIDE STORY features scenic designs by James Youmans (Gypsy), costumes by Tony Award nominee David C. Woolard (The Farnsworth Invention, The Who’s Tommy), lighting by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Gypsy, Jersey Boys), sound design by Tony Award nominee Dan Moses Schreier (Gypsy, A Catered Affair) and hair by Mark Adam Rampmeyer (The Farnsworth Invention).

WEST SIDE STORY is written by three theatrical luminaries: two-time Tony Award winner Arthur Laurents (book) and multiple Tony and Grammy Award winners Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) in his Broadway debut.

WEST SIDE STORY is produced by Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller with Terry Allen Kramer, Sander Jacobs, Roy Furman / Jill Furman Willis, Robyn Goodman / Walt Grossman, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller and Broadway Across America.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

WEST SIDE STORY had a long journey to Broadway. Six years elapsed between Jerome Robbins's first idea of a modern musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and its actual Broadway debut in 1957. Originally, the action of the musical was to take place on New York's Lower East Side with tensions flaring between Jews and Catholics during the Passover and Easter holidays. The original setting left the authors uninspired and the project was put on hold. Years later, when Arthur Laurents proposed changing the basis of conflict from religion to race, the show gained creative momentum and WEST SIDE STORY was born.

Originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, WEST SIDE STORY opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957 and garnered passionate reactions from critics and audiences alike. 

The original production starred Larry Kert as “Tony,” Carol Lawrence as “Maria,” Chita Rivera as “Anita,” and won six Tony Award nominations including Best Musical of 1957. Jerome Robbins won the Award for his groundbreaking choreography and Oliver Smith took home the prize for Best Scenic Design. Also nominated were Carol Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, Max Goberman for Best Musical Director and Irene Sharaff for Best Costume Design. WEST SIDE STORY ran for 732 performances before launching national and international tours and a successful mounting at London’s Majesty Theatre in 1958. The first revival of the musical opened on April 8, 1964 at New York City Center by the New York City Center Light Opera Company. The production closed on May 3, 1964 after a limited engagement of 31 performances. The City Center production was staged by Gerald Freedman based on Robbins' original concept. A Broadway revival opened at the Minskoff Theatre on February 14, 1980 directed and choreographed by Robbins with the assistance of Tom Abbott and Lee Becker Theodore. The revival was nominated for a 1980 Tony Award for Best Revival as well as nods for Debbie Allen as “Anita” and Josie de Guzman as “Maria.”

The revival of WEST SIDE STORY on which this tour is based began previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway Monday, February 23, 2009, opened to critical acclaim breaking box office records on Thursday, March 19, 2009, recouped its $14 million investment after running only 30 weeks. The musical played 27 previews and 748 regular performances, making it the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history.

An motion picture version, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, was released in 1961 and starred Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers “Maria and Tony” and Rita Moreno as “Anita.” 

The Broadway Season is presented by The Kimmel Center and The Shubert Organization with productions at the Academy of Music, Forrest Theatre and Merriam Theater

In addition to WEST SIDE STORY the Broadway Season includes: FELA! (Mar. 20 – 25, 2012) and the premiere of a spectacular new production of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (June 5 – 10, 2012), all at the Academy of Music. In addition, RIVERDANCE returns (May 11 – 13, 2012) at the Merriam Theater.

KIMMEL CENTER, INC., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center. Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the University of the Arts Merriam Theater. Our mission is to operate a world class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience which includes providing arts in education, community outreach and a rich diversity of programming. The 2011/2012 season is sponsored by Citi. For additional information, visit kimmelcenter.org.

The Shubert Organization owns and operates 21 theatres in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC and continues its involvement in the presentation of distinguished theatrical productions. Under the leadership of Philip J. Smith, Chairman and Robert E. Wankel, President, the firm continues its tradition of producing distinguished theatrical attractions. These include Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, Sister Act, That Championship Season, Passing Strange, Equus (w/Daniel Radcliffe), A Steady Rain, God of Carnage, Cats, Sunday in the Park with George, Dreamgirls, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Lettice & Lovage, Passion, the original production of Amadeus and many others . The Shubert Organization is dedicated to the revitalization of the American theatre. Its activities include the restoration and modernization of it is theatres and participation in civic and community affairs. Shubert Ticketing provides superior box office, call center and marketing services, as well as online products for live entertainment venues across the country.

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