BWW Exclusive: The Niagara Symphony Orchestra and some of Canada's Top Performers Present WEST SIDE STORY IN CONCERT this weekend
Something's Coming...To the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre! This coming weekend, audiences have the chance to experience some of the most beautiful music ever written, performed by some of the top musicians in Canada. The Niagara Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Bradley Thachuk, presents: WEST SIDE STORY IN CONCERT as part of the POPS! Series. Joining the Symphony are some big names in Canadian musical theatre: Robert Markus, fresh off his celebrated performance as Evan Hansen in Mirvish's Canadian premiere of DEAR EVAN HANSEN is performing the role of Tony. Soulpepper Theatre vet Meher Pavri is Maria-a role she has played before to rave reviews at the Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto and with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Playing Riff, is the very talented Sayer Roberts, who starred alongside Mr. Markus last year in the Stratford Festival's THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW; Stratford, Shaw, and Broadway star Kaylee Harwood is portraying Anita; and accomplished soprano, Charlotte Knight is reprising the role of Rosalia after recently singing the part with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.
The supporting cast (because every production of WEST SIDE STORY needs its Jets and Sharks) is a group of approximately 20 local volunteers.
Robert Markus recently opened up to Broadway World about just how excited he is to play the role of Tony in WEST SIDE STORY: "This role has been on the top of my bucket list for years...I actually think this role is my entire list. Being able to perform this role with a symphony is a dream come true." Since rehearsals with the orchestra don't start until Friday, his rehearsals so far, have taken place at his home in Stratford, Ontario, or while walking his dog, Ronald. "So if you happen to be in Stratford and hear 'Something's Coming' near downtown...that would probably be me." He jokes. As for how he feels about soon getting to have a more formal rehearsal: "I'm so excited to have our first rehearsal with the orchestra. There is nothing better than meeting those incredible musicians and working with them for the first time."
Markus shares that his first memory of WEST SIDE STORY was listening to the original cast album, "I mean the score is incredible. I remember getting lost in it. The first time I saw it on stage was a community theatre production in Vancouver. I think I was sobbing at the end...and trying very hard to hide it while surrounded by my high school friends." Now, audiences young and old in St. Catharines have the opportunity to discover (or rediscover) this iconic music, played in its fully glory by a 46 piece orchestra. Tickets are on sale at www.niagarasymphony.com with excellent discounts available for seniors, students, Arts Workers, and patrons under age 30.
The performances this weekend will mark the POPS! debut of the brand new set of Yamaha timpani drums that the Symphony procured through a generous grant from the Wise Guys Charity Foundation. The grant will provide $25,000 a year for a total of $75, 000 over three years to allow the Niagara Symphony to replace and repair their percussion instruments.
With gorgeous music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, WEST SIDE STORY is oft hailed as one of the greatest musicals of all time. The concerts on Saturday and Sunday are sure to provide audiences with a clear demonstration as to why. "I'm incredibly thrilled to share this fantastic score with our audiences" shares Markus. "I think it's going to be an exceptional event."
POPS! 1 WEST SIDE STORY IN CONCERT plays at 7:30pn on Saturday Oct. 5th and at 2:30pm on Sunday October 6th in Partridge Hall at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre 250 St. Paul St. St. Catharines.
The rest of the POPS! Series offers an exciting line-up as well. The Orchestra will perform music from the Nutcracker Ballet on Dec. 7th and 8th; On Feb. 15th and 16th 2020 it will perform a tribute to Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Sir Elton John entitled "Music of the Knights", and to wrap up the season, they will close with Big Band music on April 18th and 19th 2020.
For more information about this weekend's concerts, go to:
For more information about the Niagara Symphony Orchestra and upcoming concerts: www.niagarasymphony.com
Photo Credit: Niagara Symphony Orchestra