LEADS ANNOUNCED FOR CARNEGIE HALL’S PRESENTATION OF WEST SIDE STORY MARCH 4, 5, AND 6 AT THE KNOCKDOWN CENTER; Cast Will Feature Skylar Astin as Tony, Bianca Marroquín as Anita, and Introducing Morgan Hernandez as Maria

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Cast Will Feature Skylar Astin as Tony, Bianca Marroquín as Anita, and
Introducing Morgan Hernandez as Maria

Production Directed by Amanda Dehnert with Marin Alsop as Musical Director and Conductor,
Choreographers Julio Monge and Sean Cheesman, Musical Supervisor Leslie Stifelman, and
Scenic Designer Eugene Lee

Performances Are Culmination of The Somewhere Project,
A Citywide Exploration of West Side Story
Presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute

Astin, Hernandez, Marroquín

Carnegie Hall today announced that it has cast three lead actors for its upcoming production of West Side Story, to be presented in three performances only on March 4, 5, and 6, 2016 at the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens. The musical will star Skylar Astin (Spring Awakening original cast on Broadway, the films Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, and the upcoming Epix TV series Graves opposite Nick Nolte) as Tony, Bianca Marroquín (Chicago, In The Heights, The Pajama Game on Broadway) as Anita, and Morgan Hernandez, an 18-year-old phenom currently studying at the Boston Conservatory who will make her New York debut as Maria. (Photos above, l-r: Astin, Hernandez, Marroquín.) Additional cast members are to be announced.

The production is directed by Amanda Dehnert, and Marin Alsop, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein’s, will serve as musical director and conductor, with professional artists in lead roles and the participation of more than 200 high school students from around the city both in the cast and in a chorus specially created for this presentation. The production team will also include choreographers Julio Monge (Fosse, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) and Sean Cheesman (So You Think You Can Dance), musical supervisor Leslie Stifelman (Chicago), scenic designer Eugene Lee (Wicked, Saturday Night Live), costume designer Tracy Christensen (Sweeney Todd and Company at the New York Philharmonic), lighting designer Edward Pierce (Amazing Grace, Wicked), sound designer Nevin Steinberg (Hamilton, It Shoulda Been You), technical director David Benken (Aladdin, The Lion King), and casting by Stewart/Whitley (On The Town, Pippin).

Tickets for West Side Story will go on sale later this fall.

In anticipation of this new production, Carnegie Hall also announced that it has partnered with Soundfly to create an eight-part interactive companion course on West Side Story available to users around the globe free of charge. This new online resource, available at Soundfly.com/WestSideStory, includes lessons about the history and social issues that inspired the original musical, as well as practical instructions from professionals on all facets of performance, including songwriting, dance, acting, audition preparation, and more. The course also includes videos by experts in the field, as well as printable resources, discussion prompts, creative challenges, and suggested readings.

The performances of West Side Story and the companion course are part of The Somewhere Project, a season-long, citywide exploration of the famed musical. Presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) in celebration of the Hall’s 125th anniversary, this creative learning project will engage people through events in all five boroughs of New York City, all inspired by “Somewhere,” the classic song that forms the affirmative core of West Side Story.

Throughout the 2015–2016 season, WMI will support the creation of new works by students and community members. Some of this original music, created by participants in WMI programs and workshops, will be featured in free Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts in all five boroughs leading up to the West Side Story performances. In addition, arts organizations and other city partners will join the conversation with their own programs, including visual art, poetry, music, and dance projects. Some of this new work will be presented at the Knockdown Center in tandem with the performances of the musical. Experiencing West Side Story as a celebration of community and music will encourage artists and audiences alike to consider the work’s timeless themes, inviting all to imagine “a place for us.” Complete details will be announced later this fall.

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the beloved American theater classic West Side Story resonates as strongly today as it did when it was written in 1957. The collaboration between choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Leonard Bernstein, writer Arthur Laurents, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim produced a timeless tale of rival street gangs and forbidden love in 1950s New York with music that has been performed and recorded by major orchestras and artists around the world, also inspiring an Academy Award–winning motion picture in 1961.

About Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
The Weill Music Institute creates visionary programs that embody Carnegie Hall’s commitment to music education. With unparalleled access to the world’s greatest artists, WMI’s programs inspire audiences of all ages, nurture tomorrow’s musical talent, and harness the power of music to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. WMI’s programs are designed to facilitate creative expression, develop musical skills and capacities at all levels, and encourage participants to make lifelong personal connections to music. The Weill Music Institute also generates new knowledge in the area of music education through original research and shares a wide range of free online resources with teachers and music lovers around the globe. Nearly 500,000 people each year engage in the Weill Music Institute’s programs through national and international partnerships, in New York City schools and community settings, and at Carnegie Hall. This includes over 350,000 students and teachers worldwide who participate in WMI’s Link Up music education program for students grades 3 through 5, made possible through Carnegie Hall partnerships with over 80 orchestras in the US, Canada, Spain, and Japan.

The Somewhere Project is the latest in a series of WMI creative learning projects designed to bring New York City students and world-class artists together for musical exploration as they prepare to perform a major work. Past projects have centered on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (2007, in partnership with the Berliner Philharmoniker Education Project); Orff’s Carmina Burana (2012); Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos (2013); and Ellington’s Sacred Music (2014, in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center). Marin Alsop has led two previous WMI creative learning projects, exploring Bernstein’s Mass (2008) and Too Hot to Handel, a gospel-influenced re-invention of Handel’s Messiah (2010).

Program Information
Friday, March 4 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 6 at 3:00 p.m.
Knockdown Center
, 52-19 Flushing Ave / 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, Tony
Morgan Hernandez, Maria
Bianca Marroquín, Anita
Remaining cast to be announced

Marin Alsop, Musical Director and Conductor
Amanda Dehnert, Director
Julio Monge, Original Choreography Reset
Sean Cheesman, Additional Choreography
Leslie Stifelman, Musical Supervisor
Eugene Lee, Scenic Designer
Tracy Christensen, Costume Designer
Edward Pierce, Lighting Designer
Nevin Steinberg, Sound Designer
David Benken, Technical Director
Stewart/Whitley, Casting

The Somewhere Project is made possible, in part, by generous support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and Martha and Bob Lipp.

Public support is provided by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

Tickets: $25–$65

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

Ticket Information
Tickets will be available later this fall at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

For information on discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts. Artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.

Image at top of release courtesy of Carnegie Hall. 



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