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West Side Story Coming To New Orleans

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GRAMMY AWARD WINNING BROADWAY SMASH HIT IS COMING TO NEW ORLEANS
OPENING TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011
Choreography by New Orleans Native and Tony Award-Nominee Joey McKneely

New Orleans  – The tour of the current smash hit Broadway production of WEST SIDE STORY is visiting New Orleans for eight performances from Tuesday, March 15 – Sunday, March 20, 2010 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.  Tickets go on sale at noon on Friday, January 14.
Tony Award-winning librettist Arthur Laurents’ Broadway direction will be recreated for the tour by David Saint, the Associate Director on Broadway. The original Jerome Robbins choreography is reproduced by Tony Award-nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life), who is originally from New Orleans.

The new Broadway cast album of WEST SIDE STORY won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album on January 31, 2010. The Bernstein and Sondheim score is considered to be one of Broadway’s finest and features such classics of the American musical theatre as “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.”

The new Broadway production began previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway Monday, February 23, 2009, opened to critical acclaim breaking box office records at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, March 19, 2009, and recouped its $14 million investment after running only 30 weeks. The Broadway production played its final performance January 2, 2011. The musical played 27 previews and 748 regular performances, making it the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history. The original production, which had held the record, played 732 performances on Broadway.

WEST SIDE STORY features scenic designs by James Youmans (Gypsy), costumes by Tony Award nominee David C. Woolard (The Farnsworth Invention, The Who’s Tommy), lighting by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Gypsy, Jersey Boys), sound design by Tony Award nominee Dan Moses Schreier (Gypsy, A Catered Affair) and hair by Mark Adam Rampmeyer (The Farnsworth Invention).
WEST SIDE STORY is written by three theatrical luminaries: two-time Tony Award winner Arthur Laurents (book) and multiple Tony and Grammy Award winners Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) in his Broadway debut.

WEST SIDE STORY is produced by Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, Jeffrey Seller with Terry Allen Kramer, Sander Jacobs, Roy Furman / Jill Furman Willis, Robyn Goodman / Walt Grossman, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller and Broadway Across America.
Schedule and Tickets:The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00PM, Saturday at 2:00PM and 8:00PM and Sunday at 2:00PM and 7:30PM.

Tickets go on sale Friday, January 14 starting at $25. For more information on tickets, visit http://www.mahaliajacksontheater.com or the Mahalia Jackson Box Office.  Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com or via phone at 800-982-2787 (ARTS). Group discounts for 20 or more are available by calling 504-287-0372.

General Information:
Also playing at Mahalia Jackson Theater in 2011 are: SHREK THE MUSICAL, May 31- June 5 and a special 5-performance run of The Color Purple, February 11-13.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

WEST SIDE STORY had a long journey to Broadway.  Six years elapsed between Jerome Robbins’s first idea of a modern musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and its actual Broadway debut in 1957.  Originally, the action of the musical was to take place on New York’s Lower East Side with tensions flaring between Jews and Catholics during the Passover and Easter holidays.  The original setting left the authors uninspired and the project was put on hold.  Years later, when Arthur Laurents proposed changing the basis of conflict from religion to race, the show gained creative momentum and WEST SIDE STORY was born.

Originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, WEST SIDE STORY opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957 and garnered passionate reactions from critics and audiences alike.  The piece has often been credited with changing the entire course of the American musical theatre.  Applauding the creators’ innovation in dance and musical style, TIME Magazine exclaimed “Robbins’ energetic choreography and Bernstein’s grand score accentuate the satiric, hard-edged lyrics of Sondheim and Laurents’ capture of the angry voice of urban youth.”  New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson described the show as “profoundly moving; an incandescent piece of work where theatre people, engrossed in an original project, are all in top form.”

The original production starred Larry Kert as “Tony,” Carol Lawrence as “Maria,” Chita Rivera as “Anita,” and won six Tony Award nominations including Best Musical of 1957.  Jerome Robbins won the Award for his groundbreaking choreography and Oliver Smith took home the prize for Best Scenic Design.  Also nominated were Carol Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, Max Goberman for Best Musical Director and Irene Sharaff for Best Costume Design.  WEST SIDE STORY ran for 732 performances before launching national and international tours and a successful mounting at London’s Majesty Theatre in 1958.  The first revival of the musical opened on April 8, 1964 at New York City Center by the New York City Center Light Opera Company.  The production closed on May 3, 1964 after a limited engagement of 31 performances.  The City Center production was staged by Gerald Freedman based on Robbins’ original concept. A Broadway revival opened at the Minskoff Theatre on February 14, 1980 directed and choreographed by Robbins with the assistance of Tom Abbott and Lee Becker Theodore.   The revival was nominated for a 1980 Tony Award for Best Revival as well as nods for Debbie Allen as “Anita” and Josie de Guzman as “Maria.”

The revival of WEST SIDE STORY on which this tour is based began previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway Monday, February 23, 2009, opened to critical acclaim breaking box office records on Thursday, March 19, 2009, recouped its $14 million investment after running only 30 weeks. The musical played 27 previews and 748 regular performances, making it the longest-running production of the groundbreaking musical in Broadway history.

An exciting and innovative motion picture version, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, was released in 1961 and starred Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers “Maria and Tony” and Rita Moreno as “Anita.”  The film also received wide praise from critics, winning ten Academy Awards out of its eleven nominated categories (including Best Picture) as well as a special award for Robbins.  The film’s soundtrack grossed more than any other album before it.


New Orleans

The Mahalia Jackson Theater is located in Armstrong Park at 801 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. Information on the Capital One Bank Broadway Across America-New Orleans series and venue policies and accommodations may be obtained online at www.mahaliajacksontheater.com. Group Sales information is available at 504-287-0372. Box Office information is available at 504-287-0351.

New Orleans Theatre Association is a 501( c ) 3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to attract and present the finest theatrical and performing arts attractions available in New Orleans.  NOTA is also dedicated to financial and technical support of local non-profit institutions in New Orleans which are dedicated to the furtherance of theatrical and musical education and production.

Arts Center Enterprises – New Orleans, LLC – (ACE) is a theatrical facility management company with more than 30 years of experience in the field of professional performing arts facility management and theatrical property development.   Allen Becker, together with his partners David Anderson, Gary Markowitz and Kirk B. Feldmann have succeeded in establishing a successful business model  that combines an entrepreneurial operating strategy, with a wealth of industry relationships which result in active, vibrant, well-managed and self-sustaining performing arts facilities. Not only has this business model served to uplift communities through the presentation of powerful live performances, but it has served to also provide economic stimulus into urban corridors in need of revitalization. Please visit ACE New Orleans on line at www.mahaliajacksontheater.com.

Broadway Across America (Producer) is owned and operated by British theatre producer John Gore (CEO) and entertainment industry veteran Thomas B. McGrath (Chairman). Broadway Across America presents first-class touring musicals and plays across 40 North American cities. Under the supervision of Beth Williams (COO & Head of Production), Broadway Across America is also dedicated to the development and production of new and diverse theatre.  Current Broadway productions include Promises, Promises; Million Dollar Quartet; Memphis; La Cage aux Folles; and West Side Story.  Upcoming productions include How To Succeed in Business… Touring productions include Dreamgirls and Madagascar Live!  Please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com.

 

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