TYA announces auditions for West Side Story

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Theater for Young Audiences boldly opens the 2019-2020 season with the full-length, fully-staged production of West Side Story.  Auditions for this ambitious project take place at the home of TYA at 931 N. 8th St., Sheboygan on Oct. 21 & 22 with call-backs on Oct. 25.

Based on a conception of 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 it was 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 the Sharks.  The theme, sophisticated music, commanding dance scenes, and focus on social issues marked a turning point in American musical 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 direct the show.  Serving as artistic/stage director is Diane Johnson.  The founder of the Modjeska Youth Theatre Company in Milwaukee, Diane is a recipient of the David Kellum Award, Martin Luther King Peacemaker’s Award, and the Booker T. Ashe Award.

Ms. Johnson, who has a MA in Theater from Marquette University, is teamed up with the talented choreographer Jessica Mueller.  The owner/operator of Jessica’s School of Dance, Jessica’s students have gained national recognition in dance competition.

Serving as the music director is the well-known and accomplished Paul Sucherman.  No stranger to countless production teams around the area, Paul has performed with Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Reba McIntyre, Tim Allen, Eddie Rabbit, and many others.

The technical director is Ron Scot Fry from Milwaukee. Among other stages in southeast Wisconsin, Fry has handled all aspects of theater design for Optimist Theatre/Shakespeare in the Park, Carthage College, and Alverno College.

TYA hopes to bring a unifying experience to Sheboygan County and mount a production of professional quality.  Actors are being sought to fill a large and diverse cast of primarily teens and young adults with some key roles played by more mature adults.  The directors are looking for individuals with varying degrees of talent, including singing or dancing.  Prior stage experience may be advantageous but is not required.  All ethnicities are strongly encouraged to audition.

For more information on audition times and preparation, actors are directed to check out tyasheboygan.org, email TYA at im_a_shark_or_jet@tyasheboygan.org, or call 920-395-2586

West Side Story will be performed between Jan. 9 and Jan.19, 2020 at the UW-GB, Sheboygan Campus Fine Arts Theater.

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