MaryJoanna Grisso, Austin Colby, Natascia Diaz and More Star in Signature Theatre's West Side Story, Beginning Tonight

Dec 8, 2015
West Side Story

Signature Theatre presents WEST SIDE STORY, directed by Signature Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (Signature's Sunday in the Park with George, Cabaret). The musical, a collaboration of music, dance and theater giants Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins and Arthur Laurents, is considered by some to be one of the greatest musicals of all time. WEST SIDE STORY will run from tonight, December 8 - January 24 in Signature Theatre's intimate MAX Theatre.

"WEST SIDE STORY promises to be an amazing experience for our audiences," said Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "No audience member will be more than 20 feet from the stage and with a 30 member cast and a 17 piece orchestra in the intimate 276 seat Max Theatre, this story has never had a more environmental and encompassing production. Signature is known for its reinvention of the American musical and WEST SIDE STORY continues that tradition in grand style."

The production will star MaryJoanna Grisso (WEST SIDE STORY, US National Tour) as Maria, Austin Colby (Signature's Simply Sondheim, Sound of Music, US National Tour) as Tony, Sean Ewing (Broadway's WEST SIDE STORY, Amazing Grace) as Bernardo and Max Clayton (Broadway's On the Town, Gigi) as Riff. Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz (Signature's The Threepenny Opera, St. Louis MUNY's WEST SIDE STORY) returns to the role of Anita. Diaz was previously heralded as "a worthy successor to Chita Rivera" by the Los Angeles Times.

"I can't wait for our audiences to experience this classic musical in Signature's intimate setting," said Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. "Bernstein, Laurents and Sondheim's story about racial tolerance feels especially relevant today. With Parker Esse reimagining Jerome Robbin's iconic choreography, Jon Kalbfleisch conducting Bernstein's beloved score, and an outstanding company of actors and designers, this is sure to be an unforgettable experience for our audiences."

Grisso, Colby, Diaz, Ewing and Clayton are joined in the cast by Jasmine Alexis (Teresita; The Kennedy Center's OMAN O'man), Kurt Boehm (Diesel; Signature's Cabaret), Jennifer Cordiner (Graziella; The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, US National Tour), Ryan Fitzgerald (Action; WEST SIDE STORY, International Tour), Michael Graceffa (Indio; Catch Me if You Can, US National Tour), Colleen Hayes (Velma; Signature's Diner), Mikaela Holmes (Rosalia; Clear Space Theatre's Grease), Jamie Howes (Minnie; NBC's Smash), Ryan Kanfer (A-Rab; Forestburgh Playhouse's Legally Blonde), Ilda Mason (Francisca; Connelly Theatre's Wedding Singer), Tony Niedenbach (Big Deal; Anything Goes, US National Tour), Zachary Norton (Anxious; Cats, US National Tour), DJ Petrosino (Chino; Merry Go Round Playhouse's Saturday Night Fever), Olivia Ashley Reed (Consuela; Mamma Mia!, US National Tour), Eric Rivas (Luis; New Bedford's A Chorus Line) Maria Rizzo (Anybodys; Signature's Gypsy), Ryan Sellers (Pepe; Signature's The Threepenny Opera) Bobby Smith (Doc/Gladhand; Signature's The Fix), Cami Spring (Clarice), Russell Sunday (Officer Krupke; Signature's Elmer Gantry) Joseph Tudor (Baby John; Signature's Cabaret), Shawna Walker (Pauline; Ogunquit Playhouse's Guys and Dolls), J. Morgan White (Snowboy; Olney Theatre Center's Carousel) and John Leslie Wolfe (Lieutenant Schrank; Signature's Diner).

The creative team includes Choreography by Parker Esse; Based on Original Choreography by Jerome Robbins; Musical Direction by Jon Kalbfleisch; Scenic Design by Misha Kachman; Costume Design by Frank Labovitz; Lighting Design by Jason Lyons; Sound Design by Lane Elms; Hair Design by Anne Nesmith; Fight Choreography by Casey Kaleba; Associate Choreographer Jessica Hartman; Assistant Choreographer Tony Niedenbach; Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein; and Assistant Stage Managers Allie Roy and Paul Luckenbaugh.

Two star-crossed lovers find themselves wrenched between two rival gangs in New York City's Upper West Side in this musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Featuring an iconic score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim that includes "America," "Maria," "Somewhere," "I Feel Pretty" and "Tonight," WEST SIDE STORY will also mark the 25th production of a Stephen Sondheim musical in Signature Theatre's history.



Book by Arthur Laurents

Music by Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins

Based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Choreographed by Parker Esse

Based on Original Choreography by Jerome Robbins

Directed by Matthew Gardiner

Seven weeks only!

Performances run December 8, 2015 through January 24, 2016

Performances run Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Additional performances have been added on Monday, December 21 at 7:30 PM and Thursday, December 24 at 2:00 PM. Student matinees have also been added Wednesday, January 6 at 12 noon and Wednesday, January 20 at 12 noon. Tickets start at $40. Single tickets are available in person at the Signature Box Office at 4200 Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, by calling 703-820-9771, and online at

There will be no performances on the evenings of December 15, December 24 or December 25. This production's Pride performance is scheduled for January 8. Discussion performances are scheduled for January 5 and January 13.