Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein • Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Entire original production directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Originally produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by
arrangement with Roger L. Stevens
Directed by Dennis Razze
JUNE 15 – JULY 3 | MAIN STAGE
Legendary choreographer-director Jerome Robbins envisioned a modern day version of
Romeo and Juliet set in the racially charged streets of New York City. The incomparable
jazzy and lyrical score, romantic and haunting lyrics, and magnificent script beautifully
capture the fires of young love and fierce tribal passion—all perfectly synthesized
by the athletic lyricism of Robbins’ unforgettable dances. Genius. One of America’s
groundbreaking and most enduring musicals with songs and scenes like Tonight, Maria,
America, Cool and Somewhere. Associate Artistic Director Dennis Razze, who directed
last season’s highly lauded production of Les Misérables, will direct, and Stephen Casey
will recreate Robbins’ spectacular choreography. PG10.
PSF expects the majority of performances to sell out. Order early for best seat options.
- Opening night, Friday, June 17. Join the PSF actors and staff for a friendly post-show champagne toast.
- Meet the actors for an informal talk-back after the show Thursday, June 23 and 30.
- Dinner with Dennis and Deb: specialty dinner themed to the play with behind-the-scenes insights Saturday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 29, 5:30pm.
- An Audio Described performance of West Side Story will be held at 8pm on Wednesday June 29th. This performance is a part of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Arts & Access Program, a yearlong celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Reading Eagle, George Hatza
“…A whirlwind of emotion: love so strong it rattles the theater…
“This flawless production seems to fly to its conclusion, as if time itself has become irrelevant.
“A good production of ‘West Side Story’ is a rare commodity. But the PSF’s
mounting is not just good, it’s dazzling, utterly heartbreaking and best of all, unafraid of taking artistic risks.
“I’ve never seen a more nuanced, convincing Tony than Colby’s, a sweeter and finally bolder Maria than Grisso’s. Playing Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks, the Puerto Rican gang, and also Maria’s brother, Charles South finds that place where machismo and vulnerability share the same space. It’s a breathtaking turn.
“Jerome Robbins’ original choreography has been restaged by Stephen Casey so rapturously that it moves one to tears.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Julia M. Klein
“Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s elegant production of West Side Story has a ripped-from-the-headlines feel.
“Anita’s … celebration of her new life in “America” is a combustible tour-de-force of dance, song and acting….”
The Morning Call, Kathy Lauer-Williams
“As exciting and visually stunning as it is heartbreaking.
“Breathtaking dance drawn from Jerome Robbins’ original choreography fills the stage with electricity.”
“There is a feeling that these young people are ready to explode with energy, and their dancing expresses that exquisitely.
“ As Tony, Austin Colby … shines on the reverent ‘Maria’ and anticipatory ‘Something’s Coming.’
“Maria is played by the diminutive MaryJoanna Grisso…. Her voice… soars on the playful ‘I Feel Pretty’ and impassioned ‘I Have a Love.’”
Lehigh Valley Press, Paul Willistein
“PSF production of ‘West Side’ … is Broadway-caliber on every level. It gleams like a switchblade.
“A sizzling example of stagecraft of the highest order by top-notch actors”
DC Metro Arts, Tim Dunleavy
“Director Dennis Razze’s production crackles with vitality from its first scene.
“…A haunting dramatic power.”
Newsworks/WHYY, Howard Shapiro
“Soaring… gorgeous theatre.”
Features & Press Releases
A Battle for Supremacy on the Streets of New York City: West Side Story Opens at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Lisa Higgins • 610.282.WILL, ext. 4 June 13, 2016 Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org Center Valley, PA – The groundbreaking musical West Side Story opens on the Main Stage at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and officially launches the company’s 25th anniversary season. Directed by PSF’s Associate Artistic Director Dennis Razze, West Side Story previews June 15 and June 16 for […]
WEST SIDE STORY: GENIUSES AT WORK
By Dennis Razze “The radioactive fallout from West Side Story must still be descending on Broadway this morning.” This was the opening line of Walter Kerr’s review of the opening night performance of West Side Story published in the New York Herald Tribune on September 27, 1957. To Kerr, the impact of the musical was as if an atomic […]
STEPHEN CASEY TAKES A STEP IN TIME: RECREATING JEROME ROBBINS’ CHOREOGRAPHY FOR WEST SIDE STORY
Stephen Casey Takes a Step in Time Recreating Jerome Robbins’ Choreography for West Side Story By Lisa Higgins The futility of intolerance. All the dance, all the music, and all the words that make West Side Story the singular achievement it is, for Jerome Robbins—who conceived, then choreographed and directed the show—the central theme is simply “the […]
THE LIFE OF LEONARD BERNSTEIN: MUSIC AS GRACE AND INSPIRATION
The Life of Leonard Bernstein: Music as Grace and Inspiration By Megan Diehl He was drawn to music even as a toddler, and his first instrument was a humble windowsill. His mother often referred to him as her “windowsill pianist”— he joyfully listened to their Victrola, tapping rhythmically and watching the passers-by, as if he […]
CORINA RAINE CONNELLY
Big Deal/Action u/s
MICHAEL JOHN HUGHES
Mouthpiece, Male Swing
KENNETH MICHAEL MURRAY
CHELSEA MARIAH SOTO
Teresita/Somewhere Soloist/Maria u/s
Director; Associate Artistic Director, PSF
ERIC T. HAUGEN
IAN P. CARR
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Stage Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.