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The Mountain Play Association Announces Award-Winning Artistic Team For WEST SIDE STORY

The Mountain Play - 'A Great Outdoor Theatre Adventure' and the San Francisco Bay Area's most magical outdoor theater experience - is proud to present the Tony Award© winning musical West Side Story directed by Jay Manley, music directed by David Möschler and choreographed by Nicole Helfer for its 103rd season in 2016.

"We are thrilled to have gathered a remarkable artistic team for this important production," says Sara Pearson, Mountain Play Executive Director & Producer. "The energy and enthusiasm is building daily and everyone is looking forward to creating an exciting fresh perspective on this beloved classic."

About Jay Manley:

Jay Manley is an award-winning director whose musicals and plays throughout the Bay Area have garnered repeated praise and numerous awards from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and Dean Goodman "Choice" Awards. He founded Foothill Music Theatre in Los Altos, California, to present classic and new musicals on the campus of Foothill College. He was the recipient of a 2006 special citation from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle " recognition of his distinguished career as founder and artistic director of Foothill Music Theatre." At Foothill College where he chaired the Theatre Arts Department, he also established the Foothill Theatre Conservatory, a flourishing pre-professional actor training program. For the last 30 years, Jay has led popular theatre tours to New York, Ashland, London, and other major theatre production centers, through his company, New York Theatre Tour: Jay's extensive knowledge of American musical theatre history has made him a sought-after speaker and lecturer. Jay earned a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He lives in the East Bay.

About David Möschler

(2015 Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Music Direction)

David Möschler is an award-winning freelance conductor and musical director based

in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recent music direction credits include Ray of Light Theatre productions (LIZZIE, Into The Woods and Assassins), Lamplighters Music Theatre (H.M.S. Pinafore), American Conservatory Theater and Guthrie Theater

(Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play), San Francisco Playhouse (Promises, Promises),

Douglas Morrisson Theatre (Candide), West Edge Opera (Hydrogen Jukebox),

San Jose Repertory Theatre (One Night with Janis Joplin), Shotgun Players (Woyzeck, Assassins, The Threepenny Opera), Broadway by the Bay (Evita),

and Center REPertory Company (Spring Awakening), among many others. Möschler has won two Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical Direction with

Ray of Light Theatre, and been nominated for multiple Theater Bay Area awards as well. He is Resident Musical Director for YMTC Berkeley, and has served on the faculties for Academy of Art University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is active as a guest lecturer on musical theater. In 2013 Möschler founded the Awesöme Orchestra Collective, which he conducts every month. More information can be found at

About Nicole Helfer

(2015 Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Choreography)

Nicole Helfer is a Bay Area native and a graduate of San Francisco State University. Choreography credits include Lizzie for Ray of Light Theatre; Peter Pan for the Mountain Play; Miss Saigon, Kiss Me Kate, West Side Story and In the Heights for Broadway By The Bay (Theatre Bay Area Award winner); Dogfight for OMG Productions; Tarzan for Contra Costa Musical Theater (Shellie Award nominee); RENT for Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre Company; Into the Woods and Measure For Measure for San Francisco State University and co-choreographer for A Chorus Line; 8 Track: The Sounds of the 70s, Six Women With Brain Death, and You're A Good Man Charlie Brown for Willows Theatre Company (Shellie Award nominee). She has also choreographed Click Clack Moo and the very successful Pinkalicious for Bay Area Children's Theater. Currently, Nicole teaches dance at The Ballet School in Walnut Creek and is a member of the theatre faculty at Oakland School for the Arts.


Based on Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's infamous play about ill-fated young love, West Side Story is a Broadway classic written by Arthur Laurents, with some of the most unforgettable songs Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim ever wrote. Made famous by the 1961 Academy Award winning film of the same name, the musical is known for one of the most complicated and beautiful scores in musical theater history, as well as some of the most impressive and athletic choreography (initially by Jerome Robbins). West Side Story explores racial tensions playing out on the streets of the Upper West Side in the 1950's. The story centers around turf wars between the Sharks and the Jets, two rival street gangs, one white and one Puerto Rican. When Tony, a member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, whose brother is the leader of the Sharks, the young lovers must stand up to their families, their communities, and the very social order of the world they inhabit.

This Tony award-winning, critically acclaimed Broadway classic first came to the Broadway stage in 1957. The musical has seen numerous productions and revivals but rose to its level of popular success upon the release of the Academy award-winning film adaptation starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, and Russ Tamblyn in 1961. West Side Story is musically rich with songs that have become popular standards such as "America," "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty," "Somewhere," and "Maria." West Side Story was the first collaboration between composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Building on a century of tradition, the Mountain Play Association produces enriching theatrical experiences that stimulate creativity, engage our community, and foster a lifelong enjoyment of the performing arts. Our pinnacle event is a spectacular, outdoor production that also nurtures an appreciation for the unique beauty of Mount Tamalpais.

The Mountain Play is a non-profit (501c3) organization that has been serving the Bay Area community since 1913.

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