“Something’s Coming”...Samaha Ensemble To Honor 50th Anniversary Of West Side Story

Martin J. Golden

November 01, 2007

In 1949, Jerome Robbins called Leonard Bernstein about a new idea he had for a musical -- a modern-day version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The end result of that conversation was realized eight years later in September, 1957, with the opening of West Side Story on Broadway.

For the 50th Anniversary of that milestone in Broadway history, The Jeff Samaha Ensemble, will recreate the magic of this classic story of star-crossed lovers. Opening on March 23rd, 2007, and running for five performances at The Richard Perry Theater at Poly Prep Day School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the show will be directed by Jeff Samaha, produced by Karen Tadross, and choreographed by Chelsea Glickfield. One of the major sponsors for this production will be State Senator Marty Golden.

One of the highlights of Samaha’s presentation of West Side Story will be the score, performed by a full 23- piece orchestra as originally conceived and written by Leonard Bernstein for the original Broadway show. Jeff Samaha will lead this orchestra as Conductor as well as musically direct.

The Samaha Ensemble has recently brought some of Broadway’s most challenging productions to Brooklyn, notably Children of Eden, Ragtime, Smokey Joe’s Café, and last year’s Miss Saigon. Hailed in the Brooklyn press as "glorious" and "professionally executed", Miss Saigon featured spectacular special effects, expressive singing and acting, and a memorable cast.

The Samaha Ensemble will weave its spell once again with West Side Story, which will feature a cast of 45, many of them local Brooklynites. Leading this cast will be Clay Nelms as Tony, Elizabeth Begnoche as Maria, Michael Martino as Riff, Miguel Sierra as Bernardo, and Michelle Moreno (!) as Anita. These talented performers join a company that includes highly-trained dancers, singers and actors who will bring the Sharks and the Jets and this contemporary tale of "Romeo and Juliet" to life.

Tickets for West Side Story are on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 718 775-9056 or through the group’s website, www.jeffsamaha.com.
Performance dates are Friday and Saturday, March 23rd & March 24th at 8:00 PM; Sunday March 25th at 3:00 PM; and Friday and Saturday, March 30th and 31st at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $23.00 per person and group rates (15 or more) are available.