Jul 29, 2014

Area Theaters Join Forces to Produce 'West Side Story'

The classic story of star-crossed lovers on Manhattan's west side comes to the Bickford Theatre.

Area Theaters Join Forces to Produce 'West Side Story'

New Jersey Youth Theatre (NJYT), the Bickford Theatre in Morristown and Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown announced they will come together this summer to put on a production of "West Side Story," the classic tale of forbidden young love with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Cynthia Meryl, NJYT’s artistic director, said now that NJYT is in it's 10th year, "it seemed the right time to reprise this awe-inspiring show.”

A previous NJYT production of "West Side Story" in 2003 won the Music Theatre International’s Award of Excellence. That award was given out only once more in the following 10 yers.

An open singing audition will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 6 and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 13 at NJYT's theater in Roselle Park. An open dance call will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 13, also at NJYT. Dance callbacks will be the same evening after 6 p.m.

A final callback will be held by appointment only at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown on Saturday, April 20.

"West Side Story" will be presented at the Bickford Theatre July 18 to 28, and at the Centenary Stage Company i Hackettstown from August 2 to 11.

Young performers ages 15 to 25 with classical and non-classical vocal training are encouraged to audition. Most parts require strong dance training.  Auditionees should bring a headshot, résumé, and sheet music in the correct key. Actors are welcome to sing a selection from the show.The part of Lt. Schrank should be at least 30, and Doc should appear to be at least 40.

"West Side Story," based on the Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet," tells the story of two young people from different ethnic backgrounds who fall in love while their families and friends fight and kill each other over neighborhood turf in New York City.

"The work, a masterful interweaving of song, dance and dramatic action, deals with deadly prejudice and racism, and the transcendence of hope and advocacy for tolerance and respect for all people," a statement from NJYT reads.

The collaboration between theaters is key to putting on an amazing show. Meryl added, “Considering the state arts budget cuts and the extreme need for arts funding, this kind of networking is key to theatre’s survival.” 

Further information on auditions, tickets, technical apprenticeships or general NJYT information can be found online at www.njyouththeatre.org or by phone at 908-233-3200.  

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