• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Drama

Hit Broadway musical ‘West Side Story’ will come to India in August

The musical narrates the story of two young, star-crossed lovers in the throes of life-changing events that play out on the streets of 1950s New York

By: Mohnish Singh

After the successful run of its first musical The Sound of Music, the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) on Thursday (27) announced that it will present another Broadway musical, West Side Story, to Indian audiences.

This modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Broadway luminary Lonny Price, will be staged in Mumbai at The Grand Theatre – the cultural centre’s performing arts space – between August 16 and 27.

Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson of NMACC in a statement, “We are delighted to bring yet another iconic Broadway musical West Side Story to India for the very first time. This carries forward our vision of showcasing the best of India to the world and bringing the best of the world to India.

“At the heart of this theatrical is the emotion of love – a force that transcends boundaries and binds cultures. I thank all the friends of NMACC for their wholehearted support to our Centre, and invite them to join us in this celebration of love through art and music.”

West Side Story narrates the story of two young, star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, in the throes of life-changing events that play out on the streets of 1950s New York.

The musical was adapted for the big screen in 1961 and 2021 by original creator Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, and Steven Spielberg, respectively.

In this “vibrant and passionate retelling”, trouble brews on the Upper West Side as rival gangs Jets (American) and Sharks (Puerto Rican) battle for dominance of the neighbourhood, even as the protagonists – whose kin are sworn enemies – find themselves irrevocably in love, according to a press release.

“Driven by ancient feuds, electric rhythms, a cinematic period setting and the tragic obstacles of destiny, this is a timeless tale that is bound to enthrall,” said the organisers in its description of the theatrical which was originally staged in 1957 in Washington, DC.

Presented by an ensemble of 34 performers and a live orchestra of 20 extraordinary musicians, the spectacle aims to engross viewers into a rollercoaster of emotions – further heightened by superhit numbers, including Maria, Tonight, Somewhere and America.

The touring production put together by BB Promotion in 2003 won the hearts of more than three million people in almost 30 countries across 100 cities, the organisers added.

In 2022, an all-new international creative team assembled around Price under the same banner to open the next chapter of the classic musical’s epic success story, they said.

“Without a doubt, India is the land of epic love stories, a truly wonderful and magical place. We hope that the Indian audience will embrace our West Side Story and are very much looking forward to our time at Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC),” said producer Martin Flohr.

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