wssphoto1_w300_h232 On July 28, 29, 30 and 31 Marin Summer Theater will present West Side Story, the third and final production of the 2011 season.  West Side Story is Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” transported to modern-day New York City, as two young idealistic 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 makes it one of the most heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.


“This is not about the ‘nicest’ kids in town” said director Patrick Nims.  “These young people live in a world of poverty and oppression.  They survive any way they can.  The miracle of West Side Story is that love can be found in such a place.”wwsphoto3_w300_h253

With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, based on an original concept from Jerome Robbins, it is considered one of theater’s greatest musicals.

Memorable songs like “Somewhere”, “Cool”, “Tonight”, “America”, “Maria”, “A Boy Like That”, “One Hand One Heart”, and “Something's Coming” astonish with their power and beauty.  According to Nims, MST has also included surprises in this production. “Even if you have seen West Side Story before, you have not seen it like this.”wssphoto6_w300_h347

“Our choreographers have created all new hip-hop inspired dances the audience will love.  Kate Kenyon and Valerie Oga have done a fantastic job of seamlessly fitting the pops and hits of hip-hop into Bernstein’s music.  Importantly, portions of the dialog and lyrics are in Spanish.  In a story about the meeting of two different cultures, it was only right to let the Puerto Rican community speak with its own voice.”

Nims hinted at other twists but would not provide details.  “We have remained faithful to the story and concept while finding ways to keep the story fresh and relevant to today’s reality.”

wssphoto2_w300_h334The cast of twenty-seven comes from fifteen different schools and universities and features Sam Mickel (Columbia University) as Tony, Sandra Colindres (Marin Catholic High School) as Maria, Bouket Fingerhut (Academy of Art University) as Anita, Taylor Brindley (Marin School of the Arts) as Riff and Jacob Vorperian (Sir Francis Drake High School) as Bernardo.  Also participating are fifteen college and high school musicians under the musical direction of Emily Gates and a crew of twelve under the technical direction of Billy Higgins.

wss_photo_4_w300_h389“West Side Story is the big show of the 2011 season.” continued Nims.  “Audiences will enjoy seeing cast members from Song For A New World and Once In A Lifetime in new roles.  The crew has been working overtime to build their third set in six weeks and the orchestra is rehearsing daily to perfect the very difficult music.  This is a very focused and professional company of performers and we think the production is going to be astonishing.”

Tickets for all MST performances ($15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors) can be purchased online at and at the San Marin High School front office.  A limited seating pay-what-you-will preview performance of West Side Story will be given on July 28 at 8pm.  Performance times for West Side Story are 8pm on July 29 & 30 and at 2pm on July 31.  All performances are at the Emily Gates Student Center at San Marin High School in Novato.

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