WEST SIDE STORY Comes to Bishopsgate Institute; Pre-Show Talk And Exclusive Performance Announced

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WEST SIDE STORY Comes to Bishopsgate Institute; Pre-Show Talk And Exclusive Performance AnnouncedFollowing two rounds of highly-competitive the cast for Bishopsgate Institute's production of West Side Story can now be announced.

The role of Maria has gone to the brilliant Emily McDouall and the role of Tony has gone to the hugely-talented James Gower-Smith. Anita will be played by Victoria Greenway, Riff will be played by Luke Leahy, Bernardo will be played by Christopher Georgiou, Doc will be played by Stephen Hewitt, Krupke will be played by Drew Paterson, Schrank will be played by Will Howells, Velma will be played by Claire Pattie, Anybody's will be played by Lauren Pears and Somewhere Girl will be played by Marsha Blake.

West Side Story is set on the streets of New York's Upper West Side and explores the rivalry between two gangs, The Jets and The Sharks. Amidst all the gang warfare, Tony from The Jets falls in love with Maria, who is the sister of the leader of The Sharks. The dark themes, sophisticated music score and electric writing bring the story of Romeo and Juliet into the 20th century.

The Bishopsgate Institute production of West Side Story with full orchestra will be performed between 26 June and 1 July 2018 to celebrate the centennials of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, who composed West Side Story, and of Jerome Robbins, who directed and choreographed the original production. This high-quality amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) and ties in seamlessly with themes highlighted in Bishopsgate Institute's special collections and archives which contain images and materials exploring cultural tensions and post-war daily urban life in both New York and London. The piece is based on a conception of Jerome Robbins, with music written by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim.

This production is under amateur licence and the actors are amateurs, but the creative team and the orchestra are multi-award nominated professionals who have been invited to ensure the highest quality of experience for the cast and audience, in line with Bishopsgate Institute's philosophy. The production will be directed by Toby Hine and choreographed by Lemington Ridley, with Ben Ferguson as Musical Director, Ashley Jacobs as Associate Musical Director and Jack Weir as Lighting Designer. The show will be produced by Francesca Canty for Bishopsgate Institute.

The rest of the cast includes The Jets, who are: Callum Walsh (Snowboy), Joshua Yeardley (Action), Charlie Smith (Baby John), Glen Jordan (A-Rab), Chris Hughes-Copping (Big Deal), Ben Woolley (Diesel), Adrian Hirschmuller, Lora Jones, Jessie Davidson (Graziella), Tess Robinson, Caroline Scott, Sofia Sjostrand, Jennifer Thompson, Rachel Wheeler and Martha Stone. The Sharks include: Francois Vanhoutte (Chino), Dan Davies, Motohiro Okubo, James Monz, Leoncio Hernandez, Chloe Heatlie, Mariana Alfaro, Lois Howarth, Beatrice Mori, Paris Evans, Vicky Gkioni and Gamze Ozen. The Sharks are still recruiting, so if any male actor-dancers would like to be seen for these roles that could not make the recent auditions, please email WSS@bishopsgate.org.uk.

As well as the production itself, the cast and creative team will be doing a very special Pre-Show Talk on Saturday 30th June from 6pm - 6.45pm. They will share insights on how they brought the iconic musical to life and why it's so important to keep reinterpreting classic productions to make them relevant to each new generation of audiences.

This will be of special interest to people who are fascinated by the mechanics of theatre and what it takes to put on a special production such as this one.

There will also be a special performance by Charlotte Vaughan of a song that was cut from the original production went to Broadway, so that will be a real treat for fans of Bernstein and West Side Story.

West Side Story: Pre-Show Talk
Saturday 30 June
Time: 18.00 - 18.45

West Side Story may be the greatest musical ever written, and is surely one of the best known. This production is far from traditional and features the full 28-piece orchestration as well as a cast of 39 actors.

Join Director, Toby Hine, Musical Director Ben Ferguson, Choreography Supervisor Guy Salim, Costume Designer Stewart Charlesworth and Associate MD Ashley Jacobs in conversation with writer and broadcaster Christopher Cook as they share insights on how they brought this iconic piece to life at Bishopsgate Institute.

They will be joined by vocalists Charlotte Vaughan, Alfie Parker and Matthew Boyd for a special performance of a song cut from the original production before it got to Broadway.

This production will be set in the stunning 120-year-old Great Hall at Bishopsgate Institute, performed in traverse with limited cabaret-style seating. Providing a rare opportunity to experience the show with a full 28-piece orchestration, played by the best professional musicians in an extraordinary setting, this will be an up close and personal performance as the streets of New York take over the Great Hall, with cast members weaving in and out of the audience as the show goes on.

Bishopsgate Institute was nominated in several categories at the Broadway World UK 2016 Awards for their production of Ragtime - The Musical. The nominations were for Best Fringe Production, Best Director, Best Choreographer and Best Costume Design.

2017 marked the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of West Side Story in New York, originally produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by Arrangement with Roger L. Stevens.

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe). All authorised performance materials are also supplied by Music Theatre International (Europe).

Further details coming soon.

Website: www.bishopsgate.org.uk
Twitter: @Bishopsgatelnst
Instagram: @BishopsgateInstitute

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