West Side Story Extends Run in New HomeDate: 30 October 1998
West Side Story has secured an extension and a new home beyond its “limited” three month run at the Prince Edward Theatre. The revival, which opened at the Prince Edward on 6 October 1998 (previews from 1 October), has proved a hit with reviewers and audiences. It will now transfer to the Prince of Wales Theatre for an open-ended run from 22 January 1999.
The new production marks the 40th anniversary of the original London premiere in 1958 and is the first major revival of West Side Story in the capital since 1984. The classic musical reworks Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, setting the story amidst New York's West Side warfare of rival gangs - the native Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Tony, founder of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, sister of the Sharks' leader. The two young lovers are quickly caught up in a vicious battle between the opposing sides. The musical features a now classic score with songs such as 'America', 'Somewhere', 'Tonight' and 'Maria'.
The new production is based on the original concept by Jerome Robbins and stays true to Robbins' original direction and choreography, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Direction and choreography is reproduced for the West End by Alan Johnson, who was a member of the original 1957 Broadway cast.
Two newcomers head the London cast - Katie Knight-Adams as 'Maria' and David Habbin as 'Tony' - with Ann-Jane Casey as 'Anita'. Set design is by Oliver Smith, costume design by Irene Sharaff. Lighting design is by Mark Henderson with scenic supervision by Rosaria Sinisi, sound by Rick Clarke, costume consultancy by Barbara Matera and musical direction by Frazer Skeoch. The show is produced by Andre Ptaszynski for Pola Jones.