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West Side Story (Symphony Concert Version)
May 4 at 8:00 pm
Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story is a hot concoction of Latin jazz, Broadway romance, popular song, tension-filled ensembles, and classical charm.
Did You Know?
Although West Side Story failed to win the 1958 Tony Award for Best New Musical, losing to The Music Man, the film version won 10 Academy Awards – the most awards won by a musical in film history – including the Oscar for Best Original Music. (Source: The Western Stage)
Born in Lawrence, Mass., to Russian-Jewish immigrants in 1918, Leonard Bernstein began piano lessons at his own insistence when he was 10. He immediately demonstrated an instinctive talent for music and by age 12 was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. He studied piano and composition at Harvard but was encouraged by the American composer Aaron Copland and others to become a conductor after they observed Bernstein’s intuitive grasp of classical music and his unusual ability to play complex orchestral scores on the piano. (Source: history.com)
For pure joy, there is little that compares to the rollicking America, a boys-versus-girls free-for-all in which the constantly shifting rhythmic accent is a metaphor for the cultural differences that drive the entire score. (Source: The NPR Listener’s Encyclopedia of Classical Music)
Akronite Cheryl Crawford, the show’s original producer, pulled out of the project just two months before rehearsals were scheduled to start over funding concerns. She was replaced by producers Hal Prince and Robert Griffith. (Akron Beacon Journal)
Craig Joseph, Stage Director
Craig Joseph is pleased to return to the Akron Symphony after previously working on Titanic: The Musical, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and South Pacific. He’s grateful to the cast and the crew for their hard work, and thankful for patrons like you who support the arts here in Northeast Ohio.
By day, Craig is a freelancer – acting, directing and teaching around Ohio and the Midwest – and he is the Artistic Director of Seat of the Pants Productions (www.seatofthepants.org), an itinerant theater troupe.
Ryan Bergeron, Music Director
Ryan Bergeron is a Cleveland-based artist whose work spans the contemporary, musical theater and classical worlds. Ryan’s work as musical director has been seen across Northeast Ohio, in venues such as the Cleveland Playhouse, the Beck Center for the Arts, and the former Kalliope Stage and Carousel Dinner Theatre, as well as the University of Mount Union, the College of Wooster and Baldwin-Wallace University.
As a performer, Ryan has been seen across the country, with more 100 credits in touring productions, regional theater and Off Broadway. He is a proud member of Actors Equity Association. Ryan holds a master’s degree in musical theater and an advanced certificate in voice pedagogy from New York University. Currently, Ryan is lecturer of voice and musical theater at the University of Mount Union.
His work is represented by numerous students on Broadway, in national touring companies, on cruise ships, in recording studios, and in regional and local theaters.
Connor Bogart O’Brien, Tony
After studying opera at the Eastman School of Music in New York, Connor has been a soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Southeast Texas Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Firelands Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Pops, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He also starred on The History Channel’s Shifting Gears, and has served as executive music supervisor and composer to The Discovery Channel.
With his rock band, he has performed as the opening act on more than 20 national tours, including Jim Brickman, Huey Lewis and the News, Edwin McCain, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield, Hall & Oates, and Mariah Carey.
Connor can currently be heard behind the scenes singing and recording jingles for American Greetings, directing the All City Musical at the Akron Civic Theatre, as well as an international headliner on cruise lines worldwide with his show available in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Learn more at www.connorbogart.com.
Zulimar López-Hernández, Maria
Puerto Rican soprano Zulimar López-Hernández began the 2018-19 season with Des Moines Metro Opera, singing Tina in Flight for their summer festival, and as Maria in West Side Story for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Music Festival. Her season continued with a return to Utah Opera, singing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, appearing with the Evansville Philharmonic in concert as Maria in West Side Story, and with Dayton Opera for their New Year’s Eve gala performance. Next season she creates the role of Abilene in the world premiere of Edward Tulane with Minnesota Opera.
Other notable engagements include Musetta in La bohème with Virginia Opera and in her debut at Royal Albert Hall, Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas with Nashville Opera, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Dayton Opera and Utah Opera, and Norina in Don Pasquale with Opera Santa Barbara.
Trinidad Snider, Anita
Trinidad Snider is thrilled to be making her Akron Symphony Orchestra debut with this production of West Side Story. She was recently seen as “Donna” in Mamma Mia at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and “Katherine” in Freaky Friday at the Lakeland Civic Theater.
Other recent theater credits include Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett) at Blank Canvas, Chicago (Velma) at The Brecksville Theatre, A Little Night Music (Desiree) at Lakeland Civic Theater and Gypsy (Rose) at Geauga Lyric Theater Guild.
Trinidad is a teaching artist for The Musical Theater Project and a proud mother of four. Many thanks to Ryan, Craig, Maestro Christopher Wilkins and the entire cast, crew and production staff for this amazing opportunity. She would like to send her love and thanks to Michael, Kirstin, Dylan, Colin and Michaela for their constant support.
Robert Kowalewski (Riff)
Kyle Burnett (Action)
Dylan Grosh-Hoy (Big Deal)
Andy Simmons (Snowboy)
Zachary Charlick (Baby John)
Justin Woody (A-rab)
Devin Davis (Diesel)
Shley Snider (Velma)
Tara Corkery (Graziella)
Juliana Sutliff (Minnie)
Lindsey Leonard (Clarice/Somewhere Soloist)
Anna E. White (Pauline)
Merissa Coleman (Marguerite)
Olivia Petrey (Anybodys)
Mark Dillard (Bernardo)
Allen Cruz (Chino)
Daryl Robinson (Pepe)
Ian Lawrence (Indio)
Ian Walter (Luis)
James Robert Newton (Anxious)
Brian Mueller (Nibbles/Officer Krupke)
Rachel Maria Ines (Rosalia)
Katie Atkinson (Francisca)
Summit Starr (Consuelo)
Peyton Zamarelli (Teresita)
Megan Jones Turner (Estella)
Delia Brennan (Isabel)
Francine Parr (Margarita)