West Side Story Production Announcement
Go MAMBO! CentreStage is pleased to announce our June 2023 production of WEST SIDE STORY. Staged at the grand Costa Hall (Geelong Waterfront). Tickets on sale at https://geelongartscentre.org.au/.../west-side-story.../ Auditions in late Jan 2023 > Follow our socials to stay up to date.
The moment the curtain went up on the original West Side Story on Broadway, musical theatre changed forever.
Hailed as the greatest Broadway musical of all time, the genius of West Side Story’s creators is unquestioned. The remarkable collaboration between Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins produced a timeless masterpiece .
An undisputed and timeless masterpiece, West Side Story features an unforgettable score and songs that have been adored for generations, including “Maria”, “Tonight”, “Somewhere”, “America” and “I Feel Pretty”. This iconic dance musical remains one of the most poignant stage works of the 20th century.
This vibrant stage production features Bernstein’s world-famous score including unforgettable songs that have been universally adored for generations; proving this iconic dance musical remains one of the most poignant stage works of the twentieth century.
A modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet; this tragic love story tells the tale of two young people whose happiness is destroyed by the hate of two enemy camps in New York City’s urban jungle. The “Jets”, sons of previous immigrants to America, battle the new arrivals from Puerto Rico, the “Sharks”, for domination of the streets.
Produced by the multi-award-winning team at CentreStage, this vibrant new staging will feature our region’s most exciting talent from the production team to cast and orchestra. Coupled with Jason Bovaird’s award winning lighting design and the awe-inspiring costume pieces, this is a production you won’t want to miss!
Our Commitment to Diverse Casting
As members of the creative performing arts community, we all have a role in creating stories that reflect the diversity of the world in which we live. To that end, and in an effort to deliver more diversity in Australian musical theatre, CentreStage members will, wherever possible, include and engage with diverse thinking and actions in all aspects of the casting process. In our pursuit to stage the highly acclaimed production of West Side Story, We aim to cast consciously, and to keep performers from historically underrepresented backgrounds visible and valued in the casting process. Our goal is to ensure the representation of the following:
First Nations / Women / African / South Asian / East Asian / South East Asian Diaspora people / Mixed race people / other global majority people of colour / Neurodiverse people / People from a lower socio-economic background / LGBTQ+ people | Deaf and Hard of Hearing people / Disabled people.
We understand terminology and labels can be problematic, and while we have tried to be sensitive to this we welcome feedback on how our clarification of who is under-represented is phrased. West Side Story gives us the opportunity to represent minority groups in an authentic way. Our understanding of identity and inequality has become more complex and therefore the need for authentic storytelling.
It’s important to recognise the historical drama of the Puerto Rican and Ethnic American groups that West Side Story portrays. Throughout our audition process, CentreStage commits to conscious casting and diversity in casting. We will make creative decisions that support the notion of telling the story of an immigrant’s journey. We hope that our casting is realistic, authentic and gives this beautiful show the integrity it deserves. Puerto Rico has a rich cultural history – it is quite a mixing pot of cultures as a result of invasions and immigration. The native people – ‘Tainos’ were invaded originally by the Spanish which resulted in the huge Latina influence on the country. Other cultures that have immigrated include German, French, Irish, Greek, Italians and Sicilians just to name a few. This resulted in Puerto Rico in the 1950’s as a multicultural nation that had a very complex cultural and racial history.
CentreStage and its staff/volunteers also strive to enable the casting of actors from all backgrounds, regardless of socio-economic status and to engage with producers and directors to create opportunity and access. The team will continue to engage in collaboration and discussion around the subject of diversity with our industry colleagues and other professional organisations.
With that statement at the forefront of our organisation, Centrestage, with the kind support of our sponsors, we will waive all actor membership fees for West Side Story to allow greater access to the arts for all performers including minority representation. We believe this is a small step that will allow a performer not to have the burden of how they may afford to pay the nominal fee normally associated with community theatre.
Furthermore, Accountability is key, and we have reviewed our complaints procedure, and continue to work on creating a safe space for all. Our Executive Group also now provides points of contact for anyone wishing to disclose concerns. Additionally, mental health resources and cultural procedures can be publicly accessed via www.centrestage.org.au/health. A dedicated email (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be used for this production.
Above all else, West Side Story is a story of love trying to rise above hatred.
David Greenwood (He/Him/They) Managing Director