Jadon began his studies at Utah Tech University as a music major with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. He has been studying voice privately since he was 16 years old, is an accomplished pianist, and is utterly elated to be making his World Tour Debut in West Side Story.
Regional credits include: Albert in THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (Tuacahn), Ensemble/Beast U/S in BEAUTY & THE BEAST (Tuacahn), Ensemble in SCHOOL OF ROCK (Tuacahn), Swing in ANNIE (Tuacahn), Swing/Monty U/S in A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER (Tuacahn), Anthony in SWEENEY TODD (Utah Repertory Theatre), Black Stache in PETER & THE STARCATCHER (Utah Tech University), Jimmy Ray in BRIGHT STAR (HCTO). Much love!
Maria / Somewhere Soloist
Melanie Sierra, who studied Musical Theatre at Otterbein University, made her Lincoln Center debut at 12 years old, when she was invited by Licia Albanese to perform as the only musical theatre guest soloist, for the annual Licia Albanese Puccini Concert.
Since then, Melanie has performed throughout the United States in roles including Vanessa in IN THE HEIGHTS (North Carolina Theatre), Cinderella in INTO THE WOODS (Fritsche Theater at Cowan Hall), Lady of the Evening in LA BOHÈME (the Metropolitan Opera), Ensemble Cover in RIGOLETTO (the Metropolitan Opera), Principal Swing/ Ensemble in LES MISÉRABLES (Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall), and Ensemble in MAMMA MIA (The Rev Theatre Company).
Kyra graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in dance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University Chicago.
Her theatre credits include Associate Choreographer for ON YOUR FEET (Paper Mill Playhouse), Terecita, Consuelo, and Graziella in West Side Story, Riley in KISS ME KATE, Ali in MAMMA MIA, Cleo in LYSISTRATA JONES, Mush in NEWSIES, Cha Cha and Patty in GREASE, Ensemble in SWEET CHARITY and OKLAHOMA! (Marriott Theater).
Her TV and movie credits include guest roles in Chicago PD, American Greed, Power: Book Force, and Promise of the Butterfly (Amazon Prime).
Her dance credits include Symphony of Psalms (Netherlands Dans Theatre), Improv dancer at the Emmy Awards, and Gogo dancing for Steve Aoki, Black Coffee, Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, and Machine Gun Kelly.
This is Kyra’s 6th West Side Story!
Riff / Assistant Dance Captain
This is Taylor’s 10th production of West Side Story!
Some favorite theatre credits include Peter Pan in the National Tour of PETER PAN, the Boy in PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, George Gibbs in OUR TOWN, Jack in INTO THE WOODS, and Riff in West Side Story.
TV and Film Credits include 1923, Somewhere in Queens, Bodybag, Law & Order: SVU.
Antony Sanchez is a graduate of the Edge Pac Scholarship Program in Los Angeles.
His theatre credits include Bernardo and Nibbles in West Side Story (Opera San Jose and Barrington Stage Company), Nikos in LEGALLY BLONDE (Mason Street Warehouse), Kiki in ON YOUR FEET! (Gateway Playhouse), a Swing in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT (Norwegian Cruise Line), Mercedes/understudy Hanna in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (EWP, Los Angeles and SDMT), Issachar in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (Fireside Theatre) and Viigan in CHESS THE MUSICAL (East West Players).
He furthermore has appeared in several TV shows. Among them are Law and Order: SVU, American Horror Story, and Comedy Central’s Alternatino.
Darren Matthias toured with MACBETH (Great Britain and France), THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE WHO’S TOMMY, SEUSSICAL, and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT with Donny Osmond. He performed leading and supporting roles at The Shakespeare Theatre Company D.C., Kennedy Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Ordway Center, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse, Asolo Repertory Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater, Clarence Brown Theater and Red Pear Theater (Antibes). Darren’s Film and TV credits include No Money Down, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU and Chappelle’s Show
This is Bret’s fourth production of West Side Story over the years. In doing so, he has had the privilege of appearing on stage as all four of the show’s “adults”. On Broadway he played 200 performances as Hertz in ROCK OF AGES after 300 performances of the same role on the US national tour. Notable regional work includes: multiple productions with The Goodman Theatre and several productions with the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.
On television Bret has been seen on NBC’s Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, Fox’s Empire,
abc’s Mind Games and Fx’s Power: Book iv Force.
Officer Krupke / Cover Gladhand & Doc / Fight Coordinator
Erik Gratton graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Hilberry Repertory Theatre. He has a longstanding history performing with stages in New York and Los Angeles, among them as Sylvestre in SCAPIN and Cloten in CYMBELINE (NY Classical Theatre in Central Park), Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT (directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel), and Vice Principal Panch in THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, but he’s probably best known for playing Buddy the Elf in ELF THE MUSICAL (Theater at Madison Square Garden). His other theatre credits include the lead roles in THE FOREIGNER (directed by Brian Yorkey), SHREK, HAMLET, and as New Yorks former governor Andrew Cuomo in A TURTLE ON A FENCE POST. His TV credentials include him playing a comedy writer on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a beaver on Grimm and the world’s worst drama teacher on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Glad Hand / Cover Lt. Schrank & Doc & Krupke
Stuart Dowling is a proud Canadian from Toronto, Ontario and is thrilled to be a part of this International Tour. Some of his theatre credits include Boolie in DRIVING MISS DAISY, Edna in HAIRSPRAY, Lenny in OF MICE AND MEN (for which he was a Dora Award nominee in the category Best Actor), Freda Heights in THE LAST RESORT, Panch in THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, Bill in MAMMA MIA, as well as PROM QUEEN, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, HERE ON THE FLIGHT PATH, West Side Story 50th Anniversary World Tour, and numerous Christmas Pantomimes. His film and television credits include: In the Shadow of the Moon, Spinning Out, Murdoch Mysteries, Imposters, Mayday and the upcoming Painkillers.
Action / Cover Riff
Anthony J. Gasbarre, III is excited to be joining the World Tour of West Side Story. His regional performances include his role as Chadd in the regional premiere of ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE (Ogunquit Playhouse), Joey in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (MSMT), Sonny in GREASE (KC Starlight), the understudy of Bill Flynn in CHICAGO (New Theatre), Rum Tum Tugger in CATS (MTH), Pirate in PETER PAN (Fulton Theatre) and Riff Raff in the ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Crown Uptown Theatre). He also appeared in several films and TV shows, those include The Crowded Room, Bros, Love Outbreak, Succession, Tosh.0, and Finneas “Naked”.
Anthony graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Wichita State University.
A-Rab / Cover Action
Sky Bennett, a Pittsburgh native, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Pace University in New York City. His regional theatre credits include Disney’s NEWSIES, MAMMA MIA, OKLAHOMA!, GREASE, CAROUSEL, as well as KINKY BOOTS.
Sky is thrilled to be making his international tour debut with this wonderful production.
Calvin Ticknor-Swanson graduated in 2020 from Northwestern University where received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance with a certificate in Music Theatre. He recently made his professional debut in the role of Baby John in West Side Story at the Marriot Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
Calvin is ecstatic to be on his first world tour!
Snowboy / Cover Riff
Liam Johnson graduated from Webster Conservatory of Theatre and Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. In addition, he trained at the Housten Ballet Academy and MET Dance Houston.
Liam toured around the globe in productions of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES as Chantal, Dennis in ALL SHOOK UP, Carmen Ghia in THE PRODUCERS, Action in West Side Story, Tulsa in GYPSY, as well as in THE MUSIC MAN, MEMPHIS, MARY POPPINS, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and many more.
Ashton Lambert graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance from Otterbein University. His theatre credits include Mike in A CHORUS LINE (Reagle Music Theatre), Baby John in West Side Story (Utah Festival OMT), as well as Henry in NEWSIES (Utah Festival OMT). He first toured nationally being a Swing and Assistant Dance Captain for TOOTSIE. Ashton is thrilled to now be touring again!
Diesel / Cover Tony
Marek Zurowski graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University. His regional theatre credits include TITANIC THE MUSICAL (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), CAROUSEL (Madison Theatre), GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (Rocky Mountain Repertory), DAMN YANKEES (Thingamajig), TARZAN (White Plains PAC), and the ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Playhouse on the Square).
His international theatre credits include the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA World Tour, West Side Story (Tokyo 360) as well as the JEKYLL AND HYDE World Tour.
Laura Leo Kelly graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from AMDA Los Angeles. Their recent stage highlights include Sonny in GREASE (Musical Theatre West), Andrej in ONCE (CCAE Theatricals), SOMETHING ROTTEN (5 Star Theatricals), CLUE LIVE! (Right Angle Entertainment), West Side Story (Chance Theater), MEN ON BOATS (Thingamajig Theatre), and THE CHRISTIANS (Actor’s Co-Op).
Laura Leo is grateful to be an OC Theatre Guild Award winner for their performance as the Drummer in STRIKING 12! at Chance Theater.
Victoria Biro is a current New Yorker raised in Dallas, Texas, where she began studying music, acting, and dance 20 years ago. She went to Booker T. Washington Highschool for the Performing and Visual Arts, and later graduated from Boston Conservatory with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. She is a National YoungArts Jazz Dance winner. Victoria recently starred as Val in A CHORUS LINE, Demeter in CATS, as well as in NEWSIES, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, RENT and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. She is thrilled to be making her international debut with this beautiful and important story!
Natalie Soutier is a trained dancer, singer, and actress who is a graduate of The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre. She travels around the United States as a Master Teacher and choreographer at dance schools and at conventions.
Some of Natalie’s theatre credits include THE ROARING TWENTIES SHOW (Red Mountain Theatre), THE NUTCRACKER (Ovens Auditorium), LEGALLY BLONDE (University of Alabama) and GINGER TV (New York).
Minnie / Cover Graziella
Some of Nicole Lewandowski’s theatre credits include West Side Story (City Springs Theatre Company), DANCE AGAINST CANCER (Lincoln Center, New York) and IHEARTDANCE NYC. Her favorite roles include Cassie in A CHORUS LINE, Reno in ANYTHING GOES, and Peggy in 42ND STREET. Additionally, she can be seen dancing in Dolly Parton and Debbie Allen’s Christmas On The Square on Netflix.
Nicole is a 2022 National Young Arts Winner in Jazz Dance. She is absolutely thrilled to be making her international debut with such an important and iconic show.
Clarice / Cover Graziella / Dance Captain
Kaitlin Niewoehner toured internationally as Graziella in West Side Story (Stage Around Tokyo) and as Assistant Dance Captain at the premier of Stephen Schwartz’s SECRET SILK. Her other theatre credits are comprised of national tours including AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and SOUTH PACIFIC, Silly Girl in Disney’s BEAUTY & THE BEAST, Teenage Girl in MEMPHIS, and A CHORUS LINE. Her regional repertoire includes HIS STORY, a new musical workshop, and her role as Mersister/Princess in Disney’s LITTLE MERMAID.
Chino / Cover Bernardo
Christopher Alvarado graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. The credits of the Puerto Rican performer include ON YOUR FEET (Paper Mill Playhouse), Chino in West Side Story (IHI Stage Around Tokyo), part of the ensemble in EVITA (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Coachman in CINDERELLA, and ensemble in ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE (Cumberland County Playhouse), as well as partaking in the workshop for A CROSSING with the Barrington Stage Company.
Pepe / Cover Bernardo / Fight Captain
Alessandro J. López graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in both acting and dance from Southern Methodist University. His Off-Broadway Credit includes ¡AMERICANO! (New World Stages), which won outstanding performance by an ensemble at the 2022 HOLA Awards. Regionally he performed in ON YOUR FEET (Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theater and Phoenix Theater Company) and FRANKENSTEIN (Zoetic Stage).
Furthermore, he has also appeared in several TV productions such as When Sharks Attack, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Full Circle. Alessandro is thrilled to be a part of the West Side Story company and happy to share this story with the world.
Ernesto Olivas graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. His credits include Jimmy Buffett’s ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE (US National Tour), THE CHER SHOW (US regional premiere), and LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (Little Theatre on the Square). Ernesto is thrilled to be joining the touring company of West Side Story!
Michael Bishop received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance/choreography from Belhaven University before attending the Alvin Ailey School. He toured internationally and nationally with the European Tour of West Side Story from 2012-2014, the Opera Philadelphia, and WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED by Bill T. Jones to name a few.
Michael started his own dance film production company and his inaugural film, These Waters Bleed Deep, was screened at two international film festivals. He worked as an adjunct professor and choreographed the musical PIPPIN at Five Towns College.
Vako Gvelesiani will be making his Broadway debut with West Side Story. He began training at the age of two starting with traditional Georgian ballet before training in all styles including hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, tap, and ballet. He studied dance at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Performing Arts and at NYU Tisch Dance. He was a finalist for the National Young Arts Foundation, as well as featured in multiple music videos, TV shows such as Today’s Show, and he is a member of NBA Entertainment industry. He not only accomplished all of these achievements but did so whilst being deaf!
Nibbles / Cover Chino
Gerardo Esparza is a recent graduate of The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. His prior credits include the role of Mungojerrie in CATS, Scarecrow in EL OTRO OZ, Sister Leo in NUNSENSE A-MEN, Benjamin in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, ensemble in MAME, and the role of Conrad Birdie in BYE BYE BIRDIE, both in Mexico and the U.S.A.
Rosalia / Cover Maria
Michel Vasquez graduated from Belmont University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Her regional theatre credits include Teresita/Maria u/s in West Side Story (Flat Rock Playhouse) Cinderella in INTO THE WOODS (Timber Lake Playhouse), Aquata in THE LITTLE MERMAID (Timber Lake Playhouse), Lisa in MAMMA MIA! (Timberlake Playhouse), and Hope Cladwell in URINETOWN.
Michel is so thrilled to be joining this tour! All Glory to God!
Consuelo / Cover Anita
Deanna Cudjoe graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Having had more than ten years of classical ballet, contemporary dance, and musical theater training, she is eager to bring this timeless story to audiences around the world! Deanna is beyond excited to be making her theatrical debut in the international tour of West Side Story!
Gianna Annesi is a graduate of Point Park University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Since 2018, Gianna performed in Disney Cruise Line’s award winning BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as Dancer, Swing, and Dance Captain, and she served as onboard dance supervisor for the Disney Dream relaunch. Her other credits include the role of Helene in SWEET CHARITY (Pittsburgh Playhouse). Additionally, she was an apprentice with Parsons Dance Company, and a mentee with the company Giordano Dance Chicago.
Francisca / Cover Anita & Rosalia
Majo Rivero was born and raised in León Guanajuato, México. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and is an Interlochen Arts Academy alumni. Some of her theatre credits include Yolanda/Dance Captain in IN THE HEIGHTS (directed and choreographed by Stephanie Klemons), Mijita in DESAPARECIDAS (Joe’s Pub NYC), and Adelita in LITTLE DUENDE (NAMT festival, streamed on Broadway On Demand). Majo is thrilled to be making her West Side Story debut with such an amazing team!
Margarita / Cover Anita & Rosalia
Veronica Quezada graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Point Park University. Her regional theatre credits include BANDSTAND (Phoenix Theatre Company), ON YOUR FEET! (Phoenix Theatre Company), IN THE HEIGHTS (Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center) and 42ND STREET (Pittsburgh Playhouse). Veronica is very grateful to be a part of this incredible production.
Swing / Cover Tony & Action / Assistant Dance Captain
Aaron Patrick Craven holds his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wichita State University and is a graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio Conservatory. His New York Credits include A CHORUS LINE (Encores! New York City Center), as well as BROADWAY BACKWARDS. He toured nationally and internationally in the role of Johnny Castle in DIRTY DANCING and as Zach in A CHORUS LINE. Aaron’s favorite regional credits include the Goodspeed, Kennedy Center, and Music Theatre Wichita.
Justin Lopez trained for three years at Montclair State University, where he played roles such as Paul in A CHORUS LINE and Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf in INTO THE WOODS. After having just made his professional debut as Patrick in A CHORUS LINE at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, he is thrilled to making his international debut in West Side Story.
Sarah Gold is ecstatic to re-visit this timeless piece of theater abroad. She has previously appeared on stage in Japan in West Side Story (IHI Stage Around Tokyo). Her credits include, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (Ogunquit Playhouse), FLASHDANCE! THE MUSICAL (Gateway Playhouse), YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (Ogunquit Playhouse), CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (The REV) and ANYTHING GOES (City Springs Theater Co.). She has also appeared in several films including Netflix’s Red Notice, Tyler Perry’s A Jazzman’s Blues, and the upcoming Netflix original, Red One. Her TV credits include Severance (AppleTV) and Prodigal Son (Fox). Sarah is a graduate of Oklahoma City University, and has endless gratitude for the gifts and opportunities that God has given her.
Idea, conception, direction and choreography
Jerome Robbins was born in New York City on October 11, 1918. He was trained in modern dance and ballet and began his career in 1937 as a dancer in musicals. In 1940 he moved over to ballet. The first time he created the choreography for a ballet was in 1944 for the show Fancy Free, which was later made into the musical On the Town. Jerome Robbins became famous as an innovative choreographer for Broadway musicals such as High Button Shoes (1947) and The King and I (1951). Other musicals included Peter Pan (1954) as well as the legendary West Side Story (1957) and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). In 1989 he produced an anthology of his earlier Broadway hits as a large Broadway show under the title Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.
Jerome Robbins was appointed the Associate Artistic Director for the New York City Ballet by George Balanchine in 1949 and from 1983 to 1990 he shared the position of Ballet Master in Chief with Peter Martins. He was a soloist in the New York City Ballet and choreographed nine ballets before he founded Ballets: U.S.A. in 1959. Many of his 66 ballets are still produced by the New York City Ballet, such as Dances at a Gathering (1969) and Goldberg Variations (1971).
Jerome Robbins was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1974 to 1980 and from 1973 to 1988 was a member of the New York State Council on the Arts/Dance Panel. He established and partially endowed the Jerome Robbins Film Archive of the Dance Collection of the New York City Public Library at the Lincoln Center. He received numerous awards including the Handel Medallion of the City of New York in 1976, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1981 and the National Medal of the Arts in 1988. His academic honors included three Honorary Doctorates and an honorary membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1985.
Jerome Robbins died in 1998 in New York.
The composer, conductor, pianist, teacher and humanitarian Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on August 25, 1918 to Russian Jewish immigrants. After his studies at Harvard College and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (under teachers such as the legendary Fritz Reiner for conducting) he became the assistant to Sergej Kussewitzky in Tanglewood in 1942 and worked from 1943 to 1944 as an assistant music director at the New York Philharmonic. On November 14, 1943 he stood in for the ailing Bruno Walter in a Carnegie Hall concert and overnight became one of the leading conductors in America. After three years as the Musical Director of the New York City Symphony Orchestra he assumed the same position in Tanglewood from 1951 to 1955 and then in the New York Philharmonic from 1957 to 1958, where in 1958 he succeeded Dimitri Mitropoulos as Principal Conductor. In the seventies, Bernstein was one of the pioneers to initiate the renaissance of Gustav Mahler’s work. In 1986, Leonard Bernstein helped Justus Frantz establish the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival. On December 23 and 25, 1989 he conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in both sections of Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Leonard Bernstein was the first superstar conductor in the USA. In addition to this work, which took him to all the major orchestras in the world and let him work together with the most famous soloists, he composed music for concerts, ballets, stage and films. He specialized in jazz and new music, with instrumental compositions that were just as successful as his vocal pieces. His best-known compositions include Fancy Free (1944), On the Town (1944), Peter Pan (1950), Trouble in Tahiti (1952), Wonderful Town (1952), Candide (1956), West Side Story (1957), Chichester Psalms (1965), Mass 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976) and A Quiet Place (1983). He was a dedicated patron of the world’s youth throughout his lifetime. From 1951 to 1956 he was a professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and in 1951 he began his television career as a music commentator and teacher on shows such as Young People‘s Concerts. His works refute the deep-seated prejudice that both serious and entertaining music cannot coexist in the works of a talented composer.
Leonard Bernstein died on October 14, 1990 at his house in New York.
Arthur Laurents was born in New York City on July 14, 1917. He is one of the most successful authors and created musical plays such as West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965), Hallelujah Baby! (1967 Tony Award for Best Musical), and Nick&Nora (1991); and the screenplays for The Snake Pit (1948), Rope (1948), Caught (1949), Anastasia (1956), Bonjour Tristesse (1958), The Way We Were (1973), and The Turning Point for which he reveived a Golden Globe Award in 1977, a Screenwriters Guild Award, a Writers Guild of America Award and a National Board of Review Best Picture Award. The last two screenplays were novels as well. His plays include Claudia Lazlo, Home of the Brave, The Time of the Cukoo, A Clearing in the Woods, Invitation to a March, The Enclave, Scream, Two Lives, The Radical Mystique, My Good Name, and Jolson Sings Again.
He has also directed plays and musicals for the theatre among them I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1962), Invitation to a March (1960), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), The Enclave, The Madwoman of Central Park West (1979), Birds of Paradise, three revivals of Gypsy with Angela Lansbury in 1974, with Tyne Daly in 1989, with Patti LuPone in 2007 and La Cage Aux Folles, for which he was honored with a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical in 1984 and a Sydney Drama Critics Award for Directing in 1985. In 2009, Laurents directed the Broadway revival of West Side Story in New York. He has also written radio episodes for Hollywood Playhouse, Assignment Home, which received a Variety Radio Award in 1945, The Thin Man, Army Service Force Presents, The Man Behind the Gun, and This is Your FBI.
He has been honored with awards from many organizations, among them the National Institute of Arts and Letters, Writers Guild of America, Antoinette Perry (Tonys), Golden Globe, Drama Desk, National Board of Review and the Sydney Drama Critics. He was a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame, P.E.N., the Screenwriters Guild, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences and is an emeritus member of the Council of the Dramatist Guild.
Arthur Laurents died on May 5, 2011 in his hometown New York.
The composer and lyricist Stephen Joshua Sondheim was born in 1930 to a wealthy New York dress manufacturer. When his parents divorced, his mother moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and young Stephen found himself in the right place at the right time. His mother’s neighbor was Oscar Hammerstein II, who was at the time working on the musical Oklahoma!. It didn’t take long for the adolescent boy to discover his fascination with musical theater, and he consequently began studying music at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and later composition with Milton Babbitt. Like Oscar Hammerstein he would write the occasional pop song (with Jule Styne for Tony Bennett) and dabble in film, but like Hammerstein, his true love remained the theater.
His initial success came in 1957 as a lyricist to Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story, followed by Jule Styne on Gypsy in 1959. He wrote the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Pacific Overtures (1976) and Merrily We Roll Along (1981). He collaborated on Richard Rogers’ Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965) and cemented his reputation as a genius lyricist and composer with Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1991) and Passion (1994). In 2003, his musical Bounce had its premiere in Chicago while the Off-Broadway version (2008) was named Road Show.
He was President of the Council of the Dramatist Guild from 1973 to 1981. In 1983 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 1990.
Stephen Sondheim is one of the most successful artists of the musical and theatrical world, who gained nearly all important prices and awards. He is the only composer in the world to win seven Tony Awards and has been honored with the special Tony Award for “Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre” in 2008 and won several Grammys and Olivier Awards. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985 for Sunday in the Park with George and also was honored with the Academy Award for his Song „Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)“ from the movie Dick Tracy.
To mark his 80th birthday there were numerous celebrations around the world: he received the accolade of having a London Prom Concert dedicated to his work. New York’s Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed The Stephen Sondheim Theatre and a new show Sondheim On Sondheim opened on Broadway. The Royal Academy of Music conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate of the University of London and volume two of his collected and annotated lyrics, Look I Made a Hat, was published. In July 2013 the Stephen Sondheim Society launched The Stephen Sondheim Society Archive.
On Broadway, Lonny Price directed Sunset Boulevard, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, 110 in the Shade, ‘Master Harold’… and the Boys, Sally Marr… and Her Escorts (co-written with Joan Rivers and Erin Sanders), Urban Cowboy, A Class Act (Tony Award nominated book co-written with Linda Kline), and Scotland, PA, which had its world premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre in the Fall of 2019.
West End credits include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, as well as Sunset Boulevard (with Glenn Close), Sweeney Todd (with Emma Thompson), and Man of La Mancha, all for the English National Opera.
Film and television credits include his film version of the New York Philharmonic’s Sweeney Todd and Company. He also directed the stage and filmed versions of his tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert! (Emmy Award). Other Philharmonic collaborations include the “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcast of Camelot, Candide, Sweeney Todd (Emmy Award), and Sondheim’s Passion (Emmy Award).
Additional television credits include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill for HBO, as well as episodes of “2 Broke Girls,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “The Jack and Triumph Show.” For his first feature, ‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys, he received a Best Director Award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. His documentary, Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened premiered at the New York Film Festival and was named one of New York Times’ Top 10 Films of 2016, and his other documentary Hal Prince: The Director’s Life (PBS) was released to critical acclaim as well.
An actor, director and choreographer, Julio has performed on film and television as well as on numerous Broadway and international theater productions. Choreography works include Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Mother Courage and Her Children starring Meryl Streep, and the musical Radiant Baby, both directed by George C. Wolfe. He recently directed the English language US premiere of Jacobo Morales’ play, Bipás, at George Street Playhouse. He also collaborated closely with writer Tony Kushner and served as artistic consultant for the new film version of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Julio has staged Jerome Robbin’s original West Side Story choreography for Pittsburgh Ballet, Opera of Australia, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Tokyo in Stage Around, and at Chungmu Art Center in Seoul, South Korea.
For 10 seasons, Mr. Sturiale led the orchestra for the annual Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and conducted its original cast album for Sony Records. He was associate conductor for the NY Philharmonic’s presentations of CANDIDE, SWEENEY TODD and COMPANY. On Broadway, he has conducted JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, DREAM and wrote and arranged music for THE LITTLE PRINCE AND THE AVIATOR.
He was musical director for the Off-Broadway revivals of THE ROTHSCHILDS and JUNO, the national tours of BLOOD BROTHERS and THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, a North American tour of the new musical DURANTE (starring Lonny Price) and a European tour of EVITA.
As a composer, Mr. Sturiale garnered an Outer Critic’s Circle Award nomination for his score for the Off-Broadway musical OLYMPUS ON MY MIND and conducted its New York run and original cast album. He is the recipient of the Theater For The American Musical Award for his musical UNDER FIRE (written with Barry Harman) presented at The New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009.
His musical, KIKI BABY, written with Ellen Fitzhugh and Lonny Price, was presented at the Eugene O’Neill Festival in 2006 and by Primary Stages in NY in 2007. He has written music for ABC TV’s ONE LIFE TO LIVE and arranged and conducted music for ALL MY CHILDREN.
An evening of his work as a composer was presented in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, produced by Arts And Artists At St. Paul.
He has conducted for Petula Clark around the world and played the piano for many other luminaries, from Gloria Gaynor to Sergio Franchi to Patti LuPone.
He is a grant recipient from the National Endowment For The Arts and has won numerous ASCAP awards.
Anna Louizos is a New York City based Scenic Designer who has received multiple Tony Award nominations, Emmy and Drama Desk Award nominations for her diverse production designs. Broadway credits include School of Rock (also US Tour, London, Brazil, Australia, China, Korea -for which she designed both sets and costumes) In the Heights, Avenue Q, Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Dames at Sea, High Fidelity, Honeymoon in Vegas, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Curtains, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Golda’s Balcony and others. International productions include West Side Story for Tokios 360 Stage Around Stage Around, a theatre in which the revolving audience is surrounded by scenery. Among her many off -Broadway and regional theatre designs some include the world premiers of The Altar Boyz, Tick, Tick…BOOM, Scotland, PA, Speech and Debate, Sons of the Prophet, Just Jim Dale, Franz Kafka’s The Castle, and Fly, the Musical. USA regional revivals include Romeo and Juliet, Crimes of the Heart, The Foreigner, The Substance of Fire, Much Ado about Nothing, and The School for Scandal for theatres from Connecticut to California.
As television art director credits include Sex and the City, Big Apple and Welcome to New York.
Louizos is also the founder and CEO of Broadway Design Exchange an online marketplace for theatre artists offering sketches, models costumes, and props for collectors.
An Argentine native, he has immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1990’s. He has designed Broadway’s ALLEGIANCE, BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL (also West End – Olivier Nomination, National Tour, Australia and Japan) and HOLIDAY INN, as well as designs for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, NY City Center Encores, Atlantic Theatre Company, Primary Stages, MCC, New York City Opera, Irish Rep, The New Group, Cherry Lane, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Soho Rep among others.
Other credits include Disney’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME in Japan and Germany, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Minnesota Opera, Donesk Opera (Ukraine), Colorado Ballet, and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Regionally, Vietti has designed shows for The Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Geffen Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera, the Guthrie, Hartford Stage, Paper Mill Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Old Globe, Wolf Trap Opera and Minnesota Opera among others.
He is the recipient of the 2010 TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award.
A native of Paris with more than 250 productions to his credit, Fabrice Kebour is known as one of Europe’s leading lighting designer. His career began in New York where he won entry to the United Scenic Artists internship program which allowed him to work with some of the leading American lighting designers of the day, both Off and On Broadway.
After 5 years in New York gaining multiple experience, Fabrice Kebour returned to paris and became the associate lighting designer of the Cameron Mackintosh productions LES MISÉRABLES which he designed in Madrid, Dublin, Edinburgh, Singapore, Duisbourg and Hong Kong, as well as MISS SAIGON in Stuttgart and Scheveningen.
His work has been seen on the most prestigious international theaters: the Comédie Française, Opéra National de Paris, Wiener Staatsoper, Bregenzer Festspiele, the Teatro Alla Scala, Mariinsky Theatre, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Salzburg Festival. He designed Giorgio Barberio Corsetti’s productions UN CHAPEAU DE PAILLE D‘ITALIE for La Comédie Française, MACBETH and TURANDOT for La Scala, as well as DON CARLOS at the Mariinsky Theatre.
Since 2007, he has been designing most of David Pountney’s productions amongst which LA FORZA DEL DESTINO for the Wiener Staatsoper, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE for the Bregenzer Festspiele, Philip Glass’ world premiere, SPUREN DER VERIRRTEN for the Landestheater Linz and the Ring Cycle presented at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
His design credits also include BONHEUR for the Lido de Paris, CARMEN LA CUBANA, a world premiere musical directed by Christopher Renshaw produced by BB Promotion, as well as the 2006 the opening and closing olympic ceremonies of the Asian Games in Doha.
Fabrice co-founded the french lighting designer’s association Union des Créateurs Lumière in 2009 for which he held the president position until 2012. In 2011, the Prague Quadrennial invited him to be part of the Light Speaks exhibit which displayed the work of the world’s leading lighting designers.
Fabrice received three Molière nomination and one Welsh Theatre Award nomination for „Best Lighting Design“.
Tom has worked in theatre sound for nearly three decades. His UK Sound Design credits include Sister Act (UK Tour), The Color Purple (Curve & UK Tour), Grease (Dominion Theatre & UK Tour), Bonnie & Clyde (Arts Theatre), Beautiful – The Carole King Story (UK Tour), The Drifters Girl (Garrick Theatre, London), Spike (Watermill Theatre & UK Tour), A Chorus Line (Curve, Leicester), Amelie (Criterion Theatre, London & UK Tour), A Christmas Carol (Watermill Theatre), Hairspray, (Pimlico Opera), The Boy In The Dress (RSC), Curtains (London Wyndham’s Theatre & UK Tour), White Christmas (London Dominion & UK Tour), Moll Flanders (Mercury Theatre), Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera), An Officer And A Gentleman (UK Tour), The Jungle Book (UK Tour), Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour), Project Polunin (Sadlers Wells & London Coliseum), Crazy for You (UK Tour), Nativity! (London & UK Tour), Flashdance (UK Tour), A Little Night Music (Watermill Theatre), Working (Southwark Playhouse), Brass (Hackney Empire), Bugsy Malone (Curve), Crazy for You (Watermill Theatre & UK Tour), Oliver! (Grange Park Opera) Legally Blonde (Curve), Tell Me on a Sunday (UK Tour), The Silver Sword (UK Tour), Sweet Charity (Curve), Oliver! (Watermill Theatre), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (London Savoy & UK Tour), Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Playhouse Theatre, London),The Hired Man (St. James Theatre) and West Side Story (Victoria Warehouse, Manchester).
Furthermore, his Sound Recording & Mixing Credits are The Color Purple & Sunset Boulevard for Curve ‘At Home’ season, Gianni Schicchi, L’heure Espagnole, Owen Wingrave, A Feast in The Time of Plague and The Found Season and the Interim Season both for Grange Park Opera.
Tom has acted as an associate sound designer on over 30 shows in the UK and internationally, including The Bodyguard, Warhorse & Gypsy to name a few. Prior to this he worked as Head of Sound, opening and mixing numerous large West End shows over the past two decades. As a freelance mix engineer Tom has had the privilege of working on countless events, such as the 2012 Olympic stadium athletics and touring as Front of House engineer for many artists including PJ Harvey, The Coral, The Bees, The Lightning Seeds, Elaine Paige, Lewis Taylor and Martina-Topley-Bird.
Martin Flohr has been passionate about music and theatre all his life. While studying economics at university, he gained experience in show business by working on Broadway in New York, in London’s West End, and by travelling all over Europe and Asia as tour manager for STOMP.
In 2006, he joined BB Promotion. As Head of Project & Booking he was responsible for BB Promotion’s own productions, including West Side Story and Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, and for international touring productions including Cats, Evita, Porgy & Bess, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Tanguera. Due to his special talent for combining creative and organisational processes, he became the company’s Artistic Director in 2014. He bears artistic responsibility for all in-house productions and has executive-produced Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, West Side Story and We Will Rock You. He also successfully brought Bodyguard – The Musical and Carmen la Cubana to Germany for their German premieres. By creating the concept of BERLIN BERLIN, he is fulfilling his long-held dream of bringing his favourite era to the stage in a great 1920s show.
In May 2021, Martin Flohr was appointed Managing Director of OnStage Productions, a subsidiary of Mehr-BB Entertainment responsible for creating first-class in-house and touring productions.
Producer Mehr-BB Entertainment
With a degree in business administration, Ralf Kokemüller successfully managed hotels in the Caribbean for several years before joining BB Promotion in 1995. He was appointed Managing Director after just a year and has remained loyal to the live entertainment industry ever since. For many years, Ralf Kokemüller was responsible for scouting and booking, cultivating close and lasting relationships with internationally acclaimed hit shows such as Marcel Marceau, Tanguera, YAMATO – The Drummers of Japan and many others. He produced the TV chef Tim Mälzer’s “Ham’se noch Hack” tour in 2007. That same year, the pioneer of live stage cooking shows was awarded the LEA-Award for Best Show of the Year.
Under Ralf Kokemüller’s leadership, landmark productions such as Thriller! Live, We Will Rock You and STOMP, dance productions such as Ballet Revolución and the world-famous Alvin Ailey American Dancer Theater, and musicals such as theatre tent tour of CATS, the original English-language production of Disney’s The Lion King and Cameron Mackintosh’s Miss Saigon toured in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and beyond.
Among his greatest successes was the restaging of the original production of West Side Story. The rejuvenated Broadway classic celebrated its premiere at the Alte Oper Frankfurt in 2003 and has been delighting audiences and critics the world over ever since. Several world tours took it to Sadler’s Wells in London, the Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Orchard Hall and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Nominated for Best Revival at the 2009 Laurence Olivier Awards, the production continues to sell out houses wherever it goes: London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Berlin, Beijing, Madrid, Hong Kong, Athens, Monte Carlo, Dubai, Auckland, Tel Aviv, Vienna and many more.
As well as West Side Story, Ralf Kokemüller produced the German-language version of the original production of Bodyguard – The Musical, which premiered at the Musical Dome Cologne in 2015. He had been involved in the original West End production in London as a co-producer for several years before that. Carmen la Cubana, Cuba’s very first musical, was also created under his leadership. Co-produced with the prestigious Théâtre du Châtelet, the stunning production premiered in Paris in 2016.
In 2015, BB Promotion became part of The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd. (ATG), a world-leading British production company and theatre operator. In 2018, still under the umbrella of ATG, the BB Group merged with Mehr! Entertainment to create Mehr-BB Entertainment, which has since been jointly managed by Maik Klokow and Ralf Kokemüller as CEO and Producer. In 2019, Ralf Kokemüller produced the 1920s revue BERLIN BERLIN, which premiered at the Admiralspalast in Berlin to great acclaim and toured extensively afterwards.
Ralf Kokemüller was CEO and producer of Mehr-BB Entertainment until the end of 2022 and has since devoted himself to his duties as a producer and consultant.