WEST SIDE STORY returns to London!

Following two rounds of highly-competitive auditions, the cast for Bishopsgate Institute’s production of West Side Story has now be announced. The show will run 26 June – 1 July 2018.

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.

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.

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