Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tech Theatre and Keweenaw Symphony bring "West Side Story" to Rozsa April 13, 14, 15

With music by the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, West Side Story will be performed at the Rozsa Center Apr. 13, 14 and 15. (Program cover photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Center, Michigan Tech Department of Visual and Performing Arts (Tech Theatre), and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra present West Side Story at 7:30 p.m. for three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday -- April 13, 14 and 15 -- in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

West Side Story changed the very nature of American Musical Theatre. With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim, the play was grounded in a distinctively modern sound with a passionately poetic statement: A place where everyone can grow beyond the confines of hate and poverty, a safe and beautiful place. A modern adaptation of a quintessential tale of star-crossed lovers, West Side Story isn't performed often for a very good reason.

According to Director Patricia Helsel, "It's simply a very difficult play to perform. The show requires many different dance styles ranging from jazz, to 50s 'hipster beat,' to Latino and ballet. The music is also challenging with complex rhythms and styles for the ensemble, matched with a call for operatic technique for the young lovers. Overall, this is not your typical, run-of-the-mill golden era musical comedy."

The subject matter is highly charged with racial tension, fear, hate, and LOVE -- some pretty intense emotion that is intricately woven in textures throughout the play, taking the audience on a meaningful journey. Comedy plays a matching role in the show, with memorable numbers like "Officer Krupke" and "America."

Tickets are on sale now: $19 for adults, $6 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at Rozsa.mtu.edu, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or the night of the event, one hour before show time, at the McArdle Theatre Box Office.

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