This week saw the beginning of rehearsals for Opera Australia’s highly acclaimed production of West Side Story, which is set to make its triumphant return on Friday, March 22nd on Sydney Harbour.

Talented performers hailing from across the country including Mount Gambier, Wagga Wagga, Alice Springs, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Melbourne, and Adelaide have gathered in Sydney, brimming with anticipation to embark on the four-week open-air stage with one of the most breathtaking backdrops in the world. 

Read more: OA West Side Story cast revealed

The ensemble faces an intensive rehearsal timetable, aiming to master the intricate dance sequences and iconic melodies of this legendary Broadway masterpiece. Guided by Associate Director Eric Sean Fogel, Revival Choreographer Kiira Schmidt Carper, and Musical Director Guy Simpson, they are poised to deliver an unforgettable performance.

West Side Story Opera Australia rehearsals begin

West Side Story showcases a stellar cast embodying rival street gangs—the Sharks and the Jets—demanding exceptional prowess from its dancers to execute the celebrated and complex choreography.

At the forefront of the cast are First Nations soprano Nina Korbe portraying Maria, and Canberran Billy Bourchier as Tony, supported by talents like Patrick Whitbread from Newcastle, known for his roles in Mary Poppins, The Book of Mormon, and Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, as Riff, and Kimberley Hodgson from Gold Coast, fresh from her acclaimed portrayal of Gigi in Opera Australia’s Miss Saigon. Making his Australian debut, Broadway performer Manuel Stark Santos assumes the role of Bernardo.

Completing the ensemble of 44 are esteemed Australian actors Wayne Scott Kermond as Doc, Scott Irwin as Schrank, Joe Clements as Officer Krupke, and Doron Chester as Gladhand.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour promises an unforgettable evening, complete with nightly fireworks, a variety of pop-up bars and dining options, and unparalleled views of Sydney’s iconic skyline. 

  • What: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – West Side Story
  • When: Evenings at 7.30pm
  • March 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 
  • April 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
  • Where: Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point
  • Purchase tickets online or call the Opera Australia Box Office (02) 9318 8200