West Side Story

By Arthur Laurents

Directed by Andrew Sharp

The world's greatest love story will take to the stage in Richland Center, as the Community Players announce this summer's production of West Side Story. This landmark Broadway musical is one of the theatre's finest accomplishments, and this is a wonderful opportunity for area actors and audiences alike to experience a work of this caliber.

In the show, Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is transported to modern-day New York City, as two idealistic young lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the "American" Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.

Highlighting the talents of a young ensemble cast, "West Side Story" has found popularity throughout the world. Its exciting, sophisticated score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim is often considered Broadway's finest, its songs part of the nation's musical heritage. Maria, I Want to Live In America, I Feel Pretty and Somewhere are just some of these unforgettable songs. Originally staged by the legendary Jerome Robbins, the show is an impressive showcase for dancers.

Andrew Sharp, a veteran community theater director and actor, says "West Side Story" is a show he has always wanted to do, and many young people in the area have also expressed this desire. When the opportunity presented itself, he quickly assembled the beginnings of a production team. Peggy Veith, music director; has played piano and worked vocals for a California production of the show. Robert Jones, a free-lance choreographer from La Crosse, has played Tony and Riff in productions of the show. He choreographed "The Sound of Music" at Ithaca last fall, and is looking forward to working with Community Players for the first time. Kimberly Mindham, an actress who has done both musicals and plays, will be assistant director. Deb Zorea, Community Players president, will design the set, and the gritty streets of New York will be worlds away from the sumptuous sets she created for "The King and I." Cindy Chicker is in charge of costumes, designing outfits that will help the actors be ready to rumble in the streets and dance wildly at the gym. The Producer is Vicki Bedard.

Produced by Community Players of Southwestern Wisconsin at City Auditorium, 182 North Central Ave., Richland Center, WI.

Performances: July 27 - August 5, 2007

Performance Times: 7:30 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays; 1:30 p.m. on Sundays

Ticket Prices: $10.00 for adults; $6.00 for children 12 and under

Call 608-647-7373 for reservations or more information.

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Auditions will be held on the following days:


All talented young singers, dancer and actors in the area are encouraged to audition. The script calls for a cast of 21 younger men and 14 younger females. There are also four adult roles for men.

Auditions are May 21, 22 and 23 (M, T, W) from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Richland Center City Auditorium, 182 North Central Avenue, Richland Center, Wisconsin. The building is now also "Auditorium Antiques" and is located two blocks north of the Courthouse and kitty-corner from the post office. Come prepared to sing, try a few dance steps and read from the script. Songs from the show are preferred for tryouts, but if you wish to sing something else, please bring the piano music. The choral director is a piano major and will be there to play.

Auditioners will be asked to fill out an audition form. A picture will be taken of each auditioner for reference purposes and the auditions may be videotaped. Depending on the number of people trying out, auditions may be conducted singly or in groups. Please be aware of any potential conflicts between tryouts and the show dates so that they may be listed on the audition form.

All are welcome! Hispanics are especially encouraged to audition.