CAST FOR WEST SIDE ANNOUNCEDDirector and Choreographer Joey McKneely has announced the dynamic young cast who will star in the Australian national tour of the show that is credited with changing the face of musical theatre. Joey McKneely was personally chosen by Jerome Robbins to reproduce his original choreography and has now toured the show to wild acclaim and sell-out seasons in London, Tokyo, Paris and Beijing.
“I believe this Australian cast will be the best cast I have assembled in 10 years of doing West Side Story. Their talent has impressed me. Really, Broadway calibre!” – Joey McKneely.
This vibrant new stage production plays at the Lyric Theatre from Thursday 1 July for a strictly limited six week season. It will then tour to Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
The lead male role of Jets leader turned good-guy Tony, is to be played by Josh Piterman whose voice has become well known across the world thanks to his time with the smash hit singing group The Ten Tenors. A graduate of the Ballarat College of the Arts, Josh has toured with the Melbourne Opera Company, lived and performed in Japan, and has just finished currently sharing a stage with Geoffrey Rush in The Drowsy Chaperone at Melbourne Theatre Company.
The innocent romantic dreamer Maria will be brought to life by Sydney Conservatorium Scholarship winner Julie Goodwin, who has recently completed 200 performances in the lead role of Christine in Australian tour of Phantom of the Opera. Julie is a graduate of both the Sydney Conservatorium High School, and the prestigious Talent Development Project. Having toured in Asia and across Australia Julie is tremendously excited to have won the coveted role of Maria.
The bad boys of West Side Story are the swarthy, hot tempered Bernardo and the all-American troublemaker Riff. Bernardo will be brought to life by the highly experienced NIDA graduate Nigel Turner-Caroll. With roles in hit musicals such as Hot Shoe Shuffle and Jesus Christ Superstar, and the highly dramatic Gallipoli for the Sydney Theatre Company, Nigel brings a defining edge to the character of Bernardo.
The role of Riff will be played by Rohan Browne, whose credits stretch from performing in Happy Feet for George Miller, to The Drowsy Chaperone for Melbourne Theatre Company. With a background including Cats, Chicago and Jesus Christ Superstar Rohan comes well prepared for this demanding role.
The seamstress with the biting humour and quick wit is Anita, to be played by Green Room Award winner Alinta Chidzey. Having just returned from an overseas tour with Dirty Dancing, and a tour with the premiere cast of Dusty: the original Pop Diva, Alinta is looking forward to an exciting tour as the fiery Anita.
Packed with unforgettable songs, including Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty, West Side Story remains a theatrical landmark. These songs are as popular now as when first written having been recorded by countless famous artists.
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in West Side Story two young people meet, fall in love and pledge their eternal loyalty to one another. Their different backgrounds ensure they are denied a happy future because of the intolerance and hatred of two antagonistic cultures. Fate leads the star-crossed lovers into a tragedy of heartbreaking proportions. West Side Story is as relevant today as when it first burst onto the international theatre scene over 50 years ago – and in every way a ground breaking musical. “Full of Power and Energy! The Must See Musical”- Asahi Newspaper (Tokyo Japan).