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The Hindu
The Hindu
Shreya Banerjee

Iconic Broadway musical West Side Story will be performed at India’s Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, Mumbai

The Grand Theatre at Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC), Mumbai, is all set to reverberate with rich and visually entreating sounds and sights of the Grammy and Tony Award-winning Broadway musical West Side Story. Directed by American director Lonny Price, this modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet first premiered in 1957. The touring production put together by BB Promotion in 2003 has travelled to 30 countries across 100 cities. 

Set in 1956 New York City, the musical is foregrounded around an unruly and turbulent neighbourhood. Talking about the show’s relevance and acceptance by the Indian audience, Lonny reasons that the musical is a love story, peppered with violence, which mirrors the social and political landscape of the world today. He adds, “It takes place at the time of violence where the ‘other‘ is vilified. Sadly, this is going on today, with most countries exhibiting one degree or another of xenophobia. West Side Story is a plea for tolerance.”. Featuring a cast and crew of over 70, including a 20-member live orchestra, Jadon Webster stars as Tony, Melanie Aierra as Maria, Kyra Sorce as Anita, Antony Sanchez as Bernardo and Taylor Harley as Riff.  


WESTSIDE STORY, DUESBURG, 2022, Credit: Johan Persson (Source: Johan Persson)

Describing the set of the musical, Lonny says, “The set is complex, virtuosic and highly mobile. Most of the story takes place on the streets of New York City, and we’ve tried to replicate what those tenements looked like, with its iconic brownstones and characteristic fire escapes.” What punctuates the set are advertisements for postwar America that is suggestive of a world “nobody in the play is invited to, or whose lifestyle and products they are entitled to have, which I think fuels the tension in the play and the anger of the characters”, explains Lonny. 

A poster of the musical (Source: Special Arrangement)

While the grand spectacle will stay true to Jorome Robbins’ choreography — re-enacted by choreographer Julio Monge, the audience will witness Alejo Vietti’s vibrant costumes based on original designs from the 1950s (including petticoats and circle skirts) and a carefully selected cast, who are ‘triple threats’ — deft at singing, dancing and acting. “Enormous skill at all three disciplines is a requirement. Our auditions took place in the summer of 2022 in Manhattan. After many months of searching, we found a perfect cast who have all of the attributes required and are brilliant,” quips Lonny.  

The musical will be held at NMACC from August 16 - 27. Tickets are priced at 1,400. For bookings log into or 

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