West Side Story the Musical

The Original Broadway Classic

West Side Story the Musical

Theatre Address

Todd Jacobsson Sophie Salvesani Chloé Zuel Noah Mullins Lyndon Watts

Creative Team

Joey McKneely

Director and Choreographer

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Joey McKneely was first introduced to West Side Story by Jerome Robbins himself, when he danced in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. He was then chosen to direct and reproduce his choreography for West Side Story at La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy, his directorial debut. Since then, his productions of West Side Story have been produced throughout the world, including two sold out runs at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris and the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London where it was nominated for an Olivier award for Best Revival. On Broadway, Joey’s choreographic debut was Smokey Joe’s Café, followed by The Life, Twelfth Night at Lincoln Centre, The Wild Party, The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman and the revival of West Side Story. He has earned nominations including a Tony Award nomination, two Outer Critics Circle Nominations, a NAACP Image Award, and a LA Ovation Award. He has directed/choreographed US national tours of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Annie Get Your Gun, Crazy for You, & Smokey Joe’s Café, the new Shiki production of West Side Story in Tokyo, Japan, the world premieres of Love U, Teresa and Ah! Kuling!  In China, Evita and Dusty in London, and his new Broadway musical, Josephine at Asolo Rep Theatre.

Donald Chan

Musical Supervisor

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A musician of diverse and accomplished talents, Donald Chan has worked as conductor, music director, and composer with the most esteemed names in American Music. He received his Master’s degree from Julliard School and completed his doctoral work at the University of Colorado. As music director, Dr. Chan’s career has encompassed many of the most important, influential works of American Musical Theatre, including West Side Story, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Pirates of Penzance, and Phantom of the Opera. His work away from Broadway, at such prestigious organisations as the American Conservatory Theatre, Cleveland Opera, Seattle Opera, and Seattle Repertory Theatre has received only the highest praise. For twelve years, maestro Chan served as music director for the historic St. Louis Municipal Opera, the largest theatre in the United States. Over the span of his distinguished career, he has collaborated with such luminaries as Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, Joel Grey, Len Cariou, Sid Ceasar, Martha Graham, and a host of others. With the San Jose Symphony, maestro Chan was the featured piano soloist for Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety. As composer, he has written for a wide variety of ensembles, has provided incidental music to the plays of Ibsen and Brecht, and contributed the score to the award-winning PBS documentary March of the Living. Of the more than the 100 musicals and operettas he has musically directed and conducted, West Side Story is the piece that he is most often called upon to direct, including special productions in 2000 and 2003 for the La Scala Opera Company in Milan, Italy. Maestro Chan has served as musical director for more than 3000 performances of West Side Story, more than any other conductor directed.

Brendan Yeates

Resident Director/Choreographer

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Raised in regional Victoria, Brendan graduated from Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in 2005. Creative credits include: Associate Choreographer to Graeme Murphy on Love Never Dies Japan & Germany (Really Useful Group), Resident Choreographer on Matilda The Musical Australia (Louise Withers & Associates), Resident Choreographer for Kinky Boots (Michael Cassel Group), Choreography for So You Think You Can Dance (Shine), What Not To Wear (TLC) and Side By Side By Sondheim (Enda Markey). Select credits include: Dance Captain for Love Never Dies (Really Useful Group) and West Side Story (Ambassador Theatre Group), Older Billy cover in Billy Elliot The Musical (Louise Withers & Associates), Principal Dancer for Silverlake Contemporary Ballet, Rob Ashford's Hermes events, Cirque Berserk UK tour, International Fashion Film Awards, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, Thank God You’re Here, LA Fashion Week and creation cast for Disney stage productions. Commercials include: Neuro campaign, U2 “Invisible" - Bank of America in support of (red), MAC Glamour Daze & BCBGMAXAZRIA.

Anthony Barnhill

Associate Musical Director

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One of Australia’s leading young musicians, Anthony Barnhill is a versatile pianist, composer and conductor. His performances have been described as ‘heroic’ (Wilma Smith, concertmaster MSO), ‘sensitive and intelligent’ (ArtsHub review), and displaying ‘incredible showmanship’ (Tina Arena). Anthony’s credits span radio, national television, and as guest soloist with symphony orchestras. ​In addition to work on various musical theatre productions (recently: Dream Lover, Oklahoma!, Evita), Anthony has worked for the Victorian State Schools Spectacular, Monash University and Opera Scholars Australia. He has been pianist for Grammy nominated RnB artist Mario, toured China as Musical Director for Australian International Productions, and served as Composer in Residence for Creative Innovation Global 2016-2017. ​Anthony studied at Monash University where he won numerous awards including the flagship Concerto Competition, while also achieving the university’s highest performance result in each year of study. Anthony was winner of the prestigious Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award.

Original Creative Team

Stephen Sondheim

Lyrics

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The composer and lyricist Stephen Joshua Sondheim was born in 1930 to a wealthy New York dress manufacturer. When his parents divorced, his mother moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and young Stephen found himself in the right place at the right time. His mother’s neighbour was Oscar Hammerstein II, who was at the time working on the musical Oklahoma!. It didn’t take long for the adolescent boy to discover his fascination with musical theatre, and he consequently began studying music at Williams College in Williamstown Massachusetts, and later composition with Milton Babbitt. Like Oscar Hammerstein he would write the occasional pop song (with Jule Styne for Tony Bennett) and dabble in film, but like Hammerstein, his true love remained the theatre. His initial success came in 1957 as a lyricist to Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story, followed by Jule Styne on Gypsy in 1959. He wrote the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Merrily We Roll Along (1981). He collaborated on Richard Rogers’ Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and cemented his reputation as a genius lyricist and composer with Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeny Todd (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1991) and Passion (1994). In 2003, his musical Bounce had its premiere in Chicago while the Off-Broadway version (2008) was named Road Show. He was President of the Council of the Dramatist Guild from 1973 to 1981. In 1983 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 1990. Stephen Sondheim is one of the most successful artists of the musical and theatrical world, who gained nearly all prizes and awards. He is the only composer in the world to win seven Tony Awards and has been honoured with the special Tony Award for “Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre” in 2008 and won several Grammys and Olivier Awards. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985 for Sunday in the Park with George and also was honoured with the Academy Award for his Song “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” from the movie Dick Tracy. To mark his 80th birthday there were numerous celebrations around the world: he received the accolade of having a London Prom Concert dedicated to his work. New York’s Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed The Stephen Sondheim Theatre and a new show Sondheim on Sondheim opened on Broadway. The Royal Academy of Music conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate of the university of London and volume two of his collected and annotated lyrics, Look I Made a Hat, was published. In July 2013 the Stephen Sondheim Society launched The Stephen Sondheim Society Archive.

Arthur Laurents

Book

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Arthur Laurents was born in New York City on July 14, 1917. He is one of the most successful authors and created musical plays such as West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965), Hallelujah Baby! (1967 Tony Award for Best Musical), and Nick&Nora (1991); and the screenplays The Snake Pit (1948), Rope (1948), Caught (1949), Anastasia (1956), Bonjour Tristesse (1958), The Way We Were (1973), and The Turning Point for which he received a Golden Globe in 1977, a Screenwriters Guild Award, a Writers Guild of America Award and a National Board of Review Best Picture Award. The last two screenplays were novels as well. His plays include Claudia Lazlo, Home of the Brave, The Time of the Cukoo, A Clearing in the Woods, Invitation to a March, The Enclave, Scream, Two Lives, The Radical Mystique, My Good Name, and Jolson Sings Again. He has also directed plays and musicals for the theatre, among them I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1962), Invitation to a March (1960), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), The Enclave, The Madwoman of Central Park West (1979), Birds of Paradise, three revivals of Gypsy with Angela Lansbury in 1974, with Tyne Daly in 1989, with Patti LuPone in 2007 and La Cage Aux Folles for which he was honoured with a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical in 1984 and a Sydney Drama Critics Award for Directing in 1985. In 2009, Laurents directed the Broadway Revival of West Side Story in New York. He has also written radio episodes for Hollywood Playhouse, Assignment Home, which received a Variety Radio Award in 1945, The Thin Man, Army Service Force Presents, The Man Behind the Gun, and This is Your FBI. He has been honoured by awards from many organisations, among them the National Institute of Arts and Letters, Writers Guild of America, Antoinette Perry (Tonys), Golden Globe, Drama Desk, National Board of Review and the Sydney Drama Critics. He was a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame, P.E.N., the Screenwriters Guild, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences and is an emeritus member of the Council of the Dramatist Guild. Arthur Laurents died on May 5, 2011 in his hometown New York.

Leonard Bernstein

Music

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The composer, conductor, pianist, teacher and humanitarian Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on August 25, 1918 to Russian Jewish immigrants. After his studies at Harvard College and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (under teachers such as the legendary Fritz Reiner for conducting) he became the assistant to Sergej Kussewitzky in Tanglewood in 1942 and worked from 1943 to 1944 as an assistant music director at the New York Philharmonic. On November 14, 1943 he stood in for the ailing Bruno Walter in a Carnegie Hall concert and overnight became one of the leading conductors in America. After three years as the Musical Director of the New York City Symphony Orchestra he assumed the same position in Tanglewood from 1951 to 1955 and then in the New York Philharmonic from 1957 to 1958, where in 1958 he succeeded Dimitri Mitropoulos as the Principal Conductor. In the seventies, Bernstein was one of the pioneers to initiate the renaissance of Gustav Mahler’s work. In 1986, Leonard Bernstein helped Justus Frantz establish the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. On December 23 and 25, 1989 he conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in both sections of Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Leonard Bernstein was the first superstar conductor in the USA. In addition to this work, which took him to all the major orchestras in the world and let him work together with the most famous soloists, he composed music for concerts, ballets, stage and films. He specialized in jazz and new music, with instrumental compositions that were just as successful as his vocal pieces. His best-known compositions include Fancy Free (1944), On the Town (1944), Peter Pan (1950), Trouble in Tahiti (1952, Wonderful Town (1952), Candide (1956), West Side Story (1957), Chichester Psalms (1965), Mass 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976) and A Quiet Place (1983). He was a dedicated patron of the world’s youth throughout his lifetime. From 1951 to 1956 he was a professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and in 1951 he began his television career as a music commentator and teacher on shows such as Young People’s Concerts. His works refute the deep-seated prejudice that both serious and entertaining music cannot coexist in the works of a talented composer. Leonard Bernstein died on October 14, 1990 at his house in New York.

Jerome Robbins

Idea, conception, direction and choreography

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Jerome Robbins was born in New York City on October 11, 1918. He was trained in modern Dance and ballet and began his career in 1937 as a dancer in musicals. In 1940 he moved over to ballet. The first time he created the choreography for a ballet was in 1944 for the show Fancy Free, which was later made into the musical On the Town. Jerome Robbins became famous as an innovative choreographer for Broadway musicals such as High Button Shoes (1947) and The King and I (1951). Other musicals included Peter Pan (1954) as well as the legendary West Side Story (1957) and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). In 1989 he produced an anthology of his earlier Broadway hits as a large Broadway show under the title Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. Jerome Robbins was appointed the Associate Artistic Director for the New York City Ballet by George Balanchine in 1949 and from 1983 to 1990 shared the position of Ballet Master in Chief with Peter Martins. He was a soloist in the New York City Ballet and choreographed nine ballets before he founded Ballets: U.S.A in 1959. Many of his 66 ballets are still produced by the New York City Ballet, such as Dances at a Gathering (1969) and Goldberg Variations (1971). Jerome Robbins was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1974 to 1980 and from 1973 to 1988 was a member of the New York State Council on the Arts/Dance Panel. He established and partially endowed the Jerome Robbins Film Archive of the Dance Collection of the New York City Public Library at the Lincoln Centre. He received numerous awards including the Handel Medallion of the City of New York in 1976, the Kennedy Centre Honours in 1981 and the National Medal of the Arts in 1988. His academic honours included three Honorary Doctorates and an honorary membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1985. Jerome Robbins died in 1998 in New York

Producers

GWB Entertainment

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With operations in the United Kingdom and Australia as well as local presence in mainland China, GWB Entertainment is an internationally recognised theatrical producer and presenter specialising in conceptualising, producing and managing first class theatrical productions.

Recently in Australia, GWB has produced the headlong/Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida production of George Orwell’s 1984 and The Rocky Horror Show. Other recent credits include Ghost The Musical, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth at the Sydney Opera House and Britney Spears the Cabaret at The Other Palace in London. In Asia, GWB has toured Disney’s High School MusicalWest Side StoryGhost the MusicalAvenue Q and Jesus Christ Superstar. GWB provides General Management for numerous first-class tours including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. Later this year GWB will launch the international tour of Matilda the Musical, which opens in South Africa before transferring to Asia, as well as the Australian premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne.

www.gwbentertainment.com

Opera Australia

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Opera Australia is a performing arts company with a mission to perform some of the greatest music ever written to as many people as possible. We perform operas, musicals and concerts in our home venues the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne. But you’ll also catch us performing on basketball courts and in community halls everywhere from the red centre in the Northern Territory to the lush wine regions of Western Australia. We perform on the beach in Coolangatta, on Sydney Harbour and in schools all over NSW and Victoria. You can even watch our most popular operas in cinemas in Australia and all over the world. As one of the world’s busiest opera companies, we present more than 600 performances every year. More than half a million people see our work on stage, and many more can tune into radio broadcasts. We’re the biggest employer in the Australian arts industry, employing a huge range of people including stage managers, wig-makers, scenic artists and even a lifesaver, to name just a few. Since 2009, Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini has led the company in its pursuit of artistic excellence and growing audiences. Through innovative projects including the now iconic Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, thousands of newcomers are experiencing opera for the first time. We hope to start them on a journey that will last a lifetime. Opera Australia regularly works with some of the world’s most prestigious houses to create co-productions of powerful, often lesser-known operas. You can hear some of the world’s greatest performers on the Australian stage, including Australia’s own stars. We’re also committed to developing and nurturing new Australian talent, so you can watch the stars of the future flourish over the years.

BB Group

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The companies under the umbrella of BB Group are among the market leaders in the premium live entertainment sector in Europe. They are pioneers in the production, marketing and staging of national and international tours of musicals, shows and events, as well as in the organisation of concerts and events in the west and the southwest of Germany. BB Group’s portfolio is equally dominated by a variety of music, dance and stage shows as well as musical plays including successful international productions such as West Side Story, We Will Rock You, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Cats, STOMP!, Ballet Revolución, Carmen la Cubana, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Bodyguard – Das Musical and many more resulting in more than 1200 shows a year worldwide.