Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre is bringing "West Side Story" to the Firehouse Arts Center, opening Jan. 25. With music by Leonard Bernstein and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the musical hit Broadway in 1957 and was nominated for six Tony Awards. The classic movie was released in 1961 starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer.
Award-winning actor and Bay Area native Noel Anthony Escobar is making his directorial debut, adapting the full-scale musical to the intimate setting of the Firehouse Theater. Choreographer is Joy Sherratt; music director is Nick Perez.
"West Side Story" retells the timeless story of "Romeo and Juliet," placing Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers in New York City's West Side in the 1950s in the middle of the deep-seated rivalry between the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, and the white gang, the Jets.
Maria and Tony cross the boundaries to discover true love but the warring factions refuse to back down and the story unfolds to its tragic conclusion. Besides this powerful social message, "West Side Story" is considered a treasure of the American musical theater due to Bernstein's sophisticated and diverse melodies, and its energetic and athletic dance battles.
Sam Faustine, a member of Actors' Equity Association, stars as Tony; Alexis Vera as Maria; Brian Conway, also Equity, as Bernardo; and Sofia Costantini as Anita, along with an ensemble of professional and regional actors.
"West Side Story" will run through Feb. 9, with performances at 8 p.m., Fridays (Jan. 31 and Feb. 7) and Saturdays (Jan. 25, Feb. 1 and 8); and at 2 p.m. on two Saturdays (Feb. 1 and 8), and two Sundays (Jan. 26 and Feb. 9). Added by popular demand are Thursday performances at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6.
The matinee performance on Jan. 26 will include "Inside the Show," with the actors returning to the stage after the performance for a dialogue with the audience.
Tickets are $25-$46. Go to www.firehousearts.org, call 931-4848, or purchase at the theater box office, 4444 Railroad Ave. Season subscriptions are also available.
To learn more about Pacific Coast Rep and its productions, visit www.pcrtproductions.org.