USAO News Bureau

Auditions Scheduled for West Side Story at USAO

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Auditions for a concert version of acclaimed Broadway musical West Side Story are scheduled at University of Science and Arts on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. The production will be a part of next year’s planned Five B’s Festival highlighting the work of composer Leonard Bernstein.



The concert version of the Broadway musical by Bernstein is tentatively scheduled Feb. 27-28. The USAO music department and drama department will jointly produce the presentation. The play features many well-known songs including Somewhere, Tonight and One Hand, One Heart.

The Nov. 2 auditions are scheduled in the Davis Hall Theatre at USAO. Callbacks are scheduled immediately following the auditions. The first cast meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5 at 2:30 p.m. in the Davis Hall Theatre.

“Those interested in auditioning do not need to prepare a reading, but may bring a prepared song,” said Dr. Jan Hanson, professor of music at USAO. “An accompanist will be provided at the auditions. A CD/cassette player will also be available for those with pre-recorded accompaniments. Since the musical will be presented in a concert version, there will be no dance audition.”

The musical may be produced with 14 or more singers as well as three or more non-singers, Hanson said. “Performers must commit to the entire production process including auditions, enrollment, rehearsals and performances.”

“West Side Story is considered to be a landmark in the history of the American musical theatre. The show deviated from traditional shows with silly songs and happy endings to a more sophisticated dramatic approach,” Hanson said.

“Bernstein’s masterpiece introduced audiences to a realistic portrayal of racial prejudice, gang violence and senseless death. From its premiere to present day, West Side Story still moves audiences with its personal message of tragedy through intolerance.”

For more information, contact Katie Davis, kdavis@usao.edu, Dr. Jan Hanson, jhanson@usao.edu or contact the USAO Division of Arts and Humanities at 405-574-1239.

The Five B’s festivals, started in 2007, explore the life and times of five composers -- Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Bela Bartok and Leonard Bernstein -- through a liberal arts perspective, involving interactive and multimedia presentations giving insight into relevant and related topics in history, politics, science, philosophy and other disciplines. University faculty members from various disciplines present lectures along with music and drama performances. The festivals are presented with support from the Kirkpatrick Foundation and the USAO Foundation.