West Side Meets West End, 6 OctDate: 16 July 1998
A brand new production of West Side Story will open in the West End for a limited three month run at the Prince Edward Theatre on Tuesday 6 October 1998 (previews from 1 October). The new production marks the 40th anniversary of the original London premiere in 1958 and will be the first major revival of West Side Story in the capital since 1984.
The classic 1957 reworking of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is set against the New York 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', 'I Feel Pretty', 'Gee, Officer Krupke' 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 will be reproduced for the West End by Alan Johnson, who was a member of the original 1957 Broadway cast.
Two newcomers will 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.
West Side Story arrives in the West End on the tail of a successful UK tour. It follows Show Boat, which closes 19 September, into the Prince Edward Theatre. Broadway transfer Ragtime is expected to arrive at the venue in March 1999.