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Cortland Rep's WEST SIDE STORY Begins This Month

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For the second production in their 45th anniversary season of professional summer theatre, Cortland Repertory Theatre presents the world renowned American musical West Side Story, with a book by Arthur Laurents, based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Performances of this stirring and exciting show will run from June 22 - July 9 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on June 24, 26, 29, July 1 and 6 at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchase by calling 800-427-6160 or by visiting the CRT Box Office at 24 Port Watson Street in downtown Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org. Tickets are going fast, so CRT suggests calling early.

This production marks the CRT debut of one of the greatest musicals of all time. In this breathtaking show, two rival gangs - the Jets and the Sharks - struggle for control of their west side New York City neighborhood. Caught in the chaos, star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria find themselves wrenched between their worlds. Beautiful, passionate, with shades of violence and heartache, this innovative and unique musical still dazzles after more than fifty years. The treasured songs Something's Coming, Tonight, I Feel Pretty, Maria and Americahave become classics in the American Songbook.

The CRT production is directed by Nathaniel Shaw, who previously directed "Miracle on South Division Street" at CRT last summer. Shaw was the Associate Choreographer of the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical "Once", and will begin his term as Artistic Director at the Virginia Repertory Theatre this fall. Choreography is handled by Barbara Hartwig, who previously directed and choreographed the CRT production of "CATS". Music Director W. Brent Sawyer makes his CRT debut.

Many of the young and talented cast members of this production are making their CRT debuts. Starring as Tony and Maria are Justin Luciano and Brittany Santos. Melissa Rapelje portrays the fiery Anita and her lover Bernardo is played by Pasqualino Beltempo. Comprising the Jets are Jacob Major as Riff, James Spencer Dean as Action, Lizzie Markson as Anybodys, Drew Carr as Arab and a former CRT intern Logan Mortier as Diesel. Two Syracuse University students are also part of the gang: Ezekiel Edmonds as Snowboy and Richard Westfahl as Baby John. Portraying their girlfriends are Caroline Kane as Graziella, Erica Rothman as Velma, and local high school dancers Cassidy Halpin as Minnie and Bailey Kote as Clarice. The Sharks are played by Syracuse University student Giovanni Da Silva as Chino, with Nicholas Berke as Luis, Anthony Wright as Pepe and Michael Ivan Carrier as Indio. The Shark girls are played by former CRT intern Alexa Shanahan as Rosalia, with Joan Heeringa as Consuelo and Musa Hitomi as Terisita. The three adults in the show are played by local talent Rob Lescarbeau as Lieutenant Shrenk, former Cortland High School teacher Bill Lee as Officer Krupke and Ithaca College Acting Professor Greg Bostwick as Doc.

Stage Manager Erin Heare returns for her second year at CRT with this show, and leads the design and production team. Shelley Barrish returns as Scenic Designer having worked on The Addams Family and Suds last summer. Costumes are created by long-time CRT Costume Designer Jimmy Johansmeyer. Continuing their work this season are Props Designer Joe Dotts, Sound Designer Seth Asa Sengel and Technical Director Dana White Jr. Lighting Designer David Sexton returns for his second year at CRT, while Julianne Graffeo continues as Assistant Stage Manager.

CRT continues "Friday Night Talk Backs" at which a Q & A session with the actors, designers and crew takes place after every Friday evening performance. Tickets are also on sale for all of CRT's summer season, which includes "A Chorus Line", Agatha Christie's "Cards on the Table", "The Kitchen Witches", "The Marvelous Wonderettes" and the children's show "Pinocchio".

Photo by Kerby Thompson


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