• West Side Story

    The project culminated in three special performances of West Side Story at the Knockdown Center in Queens. Directed by Amanda Dehnert, this production blurred the boundary between students and professionals. High school–aged apprentice performers joined the cast of the production, immersing themselves in every dance step of this incredible work alongside professionals. The production also featured a choir of high school students from across the city, adding a new dimension to Leonard Bernstein’s iconic score under the direction of Marin Alsop.

    The Knockdown Center, a restored glass and door factory, provided an unforgettable setting for the performances. The expansive space—part–block party, part–city street—represented the open, community nature of the project. The setting was only the beginning of what was re-imagined in this production. With a colorblind approach to casting, the audience was unable to identify the Sharks and Jets by the color of their hair or skin; instead a few color-coded elements of the costumes (red for Jets, purple for Sharks) were the only unifying feature within each gang. Jerome Robbins’s choreography—reset in this production by Julio Monge—is one of the most iconic parts of West Side Story. It draws on a mixing pot of influences—the mambo, Lindy, American swing, stage fighting, and ballet. Sean Cheesman provided additional choreography for the production, bringing influences from popular dance of the last few decades into the mix.

    “If theater is a reflection of our society, The Somewhere Project’s take on the classic musical West Side Story this past weekend provides hope that there can be peace if only we ask what it means universally to be human, instead of reinforcing the labels that make us different.”

    The Huffington Post review

    “The sound of so many voices added a layer of emotional plushness to the songs that was goosepimple–inducing, and utterly irresistible. So, really, was the entire production, which may have been conceived in part as a public-spirited educational project, but ultimately became a simple yet transporting production of a great musical.”

    The New York Times review

  • TSP West Side Story tout
  • The Somewhere Project is made possible, in part, by generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, Martha and Bob Lipp, and Randy and Jay Fishman.

    Howard Gilman Foundation 130x29

    Public support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

  • Performers

    • 200 high school singers from all five boroughs
    • 15 high school apprentice cast members
    • 32 high schools represented in the production
    • 29 professional cast members
    • 40–piece professional orchestra
    “It’s humbling, getting to work alongside these people who have been part of Wicked, The King and I, Aladdin … it’s really an honor. Sometimes I just stand around and think, ‘Wow! I’m here!’”

    —Anijah Lezama, apprentice cast member, age 16

    West Side Story 1 (Richard Termine)
    Fifteen high school–aged apprentice cast members, performing here during the “Somewhere” ballet, joined the cast of West Side Story alongside professionals. (Photo: Richard Termine)
      West Side Story 2 (Chris Lee)
    Musical Director Marin Alsop, a protégée of Bernstein’s, led the performances of West Side Story. (Photo: Chris Lee)
      West Side Story 3 (Richard Termine)
    The Sharks perform “America.” (Photo: Richard Termine)
  • March 4–6, 2016
    Knockdown Center | Queens


    Based on a conception of JEROME ROBBINS


    Entire Original Production Directed and Choreographed by JEROME ROBBINS

    Originally Produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince
    By Arrangement with Roger L. Stevens

    Skylar Astin | Bianca Marroquín | Donald Jones | Manny Stark

    Alex Aquilino | Stanley Bahorek | Olutayo Bosede | Ariana Crowder
    Karli Dinardo | Zack Everhart | Hannah Florence | Damon J. Gillespie | Sam Lips | Robin Masella | Raymond Joel Matsamura Melissa Hunter McCann | Dashi Mitchell | Emilio Ramos | Julian Ramos | Alex Ringler | Sherisse Springer | Clay Thomson James Tolbert | Jessica Walker | Michelle West | Ricardo Zayas

    Kaitlyn Benzant | Angel Blanco | Kendall Carter | Emanuel Figueroa | Alexis Garcia | Fabian Garcia | Sebastian Garcia Reyna Guerra | Anijah Lezama | Alexa Maetta | Hállie Richardson | Sydney Richardson | Jillian Schear | Martina Viadana Daniella Zunic

    Chuck Cooper | Peter Gerety

    and introducing
    Morgan Hernandez

    Scenic Design
    Eugene Lee

    Sound Design
    Nevin Steinberg

    Hair Designer
    J. Jared Janas


    General Management
    Mitch Weiss
    MW Entertainment Group

    Costume Design
    Tracy Christensen

    Orchestra Contractor
    Seymour “Red” Press

    Fight Director
    Tom Schall

    Community Activities Coordinator
    Eduardo Placer

    Lighting Design
    Edward Pierce

    Production Manager
    David Benken

    Production Stage Manager
    Lloyd Davis Jr.

    Musical Project Consultant
    Thomas Cabaniss

    Assistant Director
    Brendan Flynn

    Assistant Choreographer
    Melissa Rae Mahon

    Musical Supervisor
    Leslie Stifelman

    Jerome Robbins Choreography Re-Created by
    Julio Monge

    Additional Choreography by
    Sean Cheesman

    Musical Director and Conductor
    Marin Alsop

    Production Directed and Conceived by
    Amanda Dehnert