Handa Opera To Present ‘West Side Story’ On Sydney Harbour

By Nicole Kuchta

This spring, Handa Opera will present U.S. based director Francesca Zambello’s new production of ‘West Side Story,’ the very first musical to take place outside on Sydney Harbor.

The production, according to the press release, will bring “a gritty, urban New York landscape to a floating stage on the picturesque shores of Sydney Harbor, complete with graffiti-covered streetcars, a subway car and the Statue of Liberty.” The backdrop of the floating stage includes the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge in addition to the stunning city skyline. Special effects and nightly fireworks will make each performance even more visually spectacular.

The audience can expect to arrive in style via boat: a shuttle service will operate from Circular Quay East Wharf, Circular Quay West wharf, the wharf near the Park Hyatt Sydney, and Man O’ War Jetty. Once at the site, “essentially a pop-up Opera House,” one can experience fine dining and drinks before settling into comfortable grandstand seating.

Highlights of the extensive cast list include Julie Lea Goodwin as Maria, Alexander Lewis as Tony, Mark Hill as Riff, Karli Dinardo as Anita, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva as Bernardo, David Whitney as Doc, Scott Irwin as Lt. Schrank, and Michael Beckley as Officer Krupke. The production will be choreographed by Julio Monge, Melissa McCann, and Shane Placentino, with set design by Brian Thomson and costumes by Jennifer Irwin. Guy Simpson will conduct the live orchestra, hidden beneath the stage.

Performance are scheduled from March 22 through April 21, 2019.