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Curtain opens on TYA’s West Side Story

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Theater for Young Audiences boldly opens the new decade by mounting the full-length, fully-staged production of “West Side Story”.

More than 120 people are involved in staging this timeless production.  The curtain opens on Friday, January 10 and runs through Jan 19.

Based on a concept by Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, “West Side Story” is an artistic masterpiece that remains as powerful and relevant today as it was when first introduced on the stage over 60 years ago.

Set in an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood in New York City, “West Side Story” explores the rivalry between the Jets and Sharks.  The theme, sophisticated music, commanding dance scenes, and focus on social issues marked a turning point in American theater.

The original 1957 Broadway version received six Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical.  The 1961 film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won ten, including Best Picture.

TYA has assembled an experienced and accomplished team to bring “West Side Story” to life, including Diane Johnson, stage director, Paul Sucherman, music director, Ron Scot Fry, technical and stage combat director, Jessica Mueller, choreographer, Tegan Hermann, stage manager, Debra Fabian, costume designer, Tracy Waldhart, assistant director, and countless other assistants and team members.

“West Side Story” is being performed at UW-GB Sheboygan Campus Fine Arts Theatre with 7 pm shows on Jan 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 with 2 pm matinees on Jan 12 and 19.  Tickets may be purchased online at  Some mature themes require parental discretion.

The talented cast includes many actors with a long list of credits as well as those making their TYA stage debuts.  Featured in the lead roles are Amanda Hartlaub (Maria), Keane Schmidt (Tony), Frida McKeown (Anita), Harrison Thiry (Riff), and Joseph Wilsnack (Bernardo).

Rounding out the Jets and Girls are David Quinn, Luke Gotwald, Lukas Reschke, Noah Verhasselt, Brady Baker, Kyle Dehn, Rikki Mason, Bailey Joyce, Mahi Blake, Naomi Harder, Abi Charbonneau, Florence Butterfield, Kate Bemis, and Meg Bemis.

Rounding out the Sharks and Girls are Nico Torres, Micah Lilyquist, Jordan Culp, Davis Knowles, Paul Kobylorz, John Kakuzi, Kailey Kaltenbrun, Maria Stemper, Isabella Torres, Hannah Persick, Aliyah Huerta, and Sarah Torres.

The adults are played by Scott Schmidt, Brett Lilyquist, Brian Charbonneau, and Susan Fry.

Since its inception over 30 years ago, TYA has impacted nearly 2,000 Sheboygan County elementary, middle, and high school students as well as countless adults.

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