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Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY

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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 byLeonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Performances of this stirring and exciting show will run from tonight, June 22, through July 9 with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on June 24, 26, 29, July 1 and 6 at 2:00 PM. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!

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 America have 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 Sawyermakes 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 DesignerDavid Sexton returns for his second year at CRT, while Julianne Graffeo continues as Assistant Stage Manager.

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.

Photo Credit: Eric Behnke

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
Richard Westfahl as Baby John, Ezekiel Edmonds as Snowboy, Logan Mortier as Diesel, James Spencer Dean as Action and Drew Carr as Arab perform 'The Jet Song'

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
The cast of WEST SIDE STORY at Cortland Repertory Theatre performs 'The Dance at the Gym'

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
Brittany Santos as Maria and Justin Luciano as Tony sing 'Tonight'

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
Musa Hitomi, Caroline Kane, Melissa Rapelje as Anita, Joan Heeringa and Alexa Shanahan perform 'America'

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
The Jets

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
Cast members as the street gangs The Sharks, led by Pasqualino Beltempo as Bernardo and The Jets, led by Jacob Major as Riff

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
Pasqualino Beltempo as Bernardo and Jacob Major as Riff face off

Photo Flash: First Look at Cortland Repertory Theatre's WEST SIDE STORY
Richard Westfahl as Baby John, Logan Mortier as Diesel, James Spencer Dean as Action, Drew Carr as Arab and Ezekiel Edmonds as Snowboy perform 'Gee Officer Krupke'


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