On Sunday, May 22 – and on successive Sundays and one Saturday through June 19 – one of the Bay Area’s most unique theaters becomes a hive of activity, as the Mountain Play opens its 103rd season with a production of West Side Story, exploring the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks street gangs in 1950s New York City.

Directed by Jay Manley and with music direction by David Möschler and choreography by Nicole Helferor, West Side Story is based on Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s infamous play about ill-fated young love. The Broadway classic was written by Arthur Laurents, with some of the most unforgettable songs Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim ever wrote.

Made famous by the 1961 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, the musical is known for one of the most complicated and beautiful scores in musical theater history, as well as some of the most impressive and athletic choreography. West Side Story explores racial tensions playing out on the streets of the Upper West Side in the 1950’s. The story centers around turf wars between the Sharks and the Jets, two rival street gangs, one white and one Puerto Rican. When Tony, a member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, whose brother is the leader of the Sharks, the young lovers must stand up to their families, their communities, and the very social order of the world they inhabit.

The cast features Mindy Lym (Maria), Jerry Lee (Tony), Erica Lamkin (Anita), David Crane (Bernardo) and Zachary Isen (Riff).

As longtime Mountain Play regulars know, the outdoor Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Theatre know, which seats 4,000 people atop in rows made of massive serpentine stones, plays as much a role in the overall experience as does the production itself.

Pre-show entertainment during the run includes: Destony Arts, Vocal Rush, the Lollipop Guild, Enriching Lives Through Music and ‘Til Dawn. Food is available at the West Side Café, prepared onsite by Fred Martin Events. Patrons can also purchase Barefoot Wines and Lagunitas Brewing Company at the Rumble Bar. Dining in the Woods gourmet lunch is prepared by Debbie Ghiringhelli Catering.

The 411: The Mountain Play’s production of West Side Story opens the Mountain Play’s 103rd season Sunday, May 22, at 2pm. Shows continue every Sunday through June 19 – all performances at 2pm – as well as Saturday, June 11. Tickets are $20-$40 General Admission. Children 3 and under are free. Ticket sales and information for group discounts and reserved seating are available at the Mountain Play websiteGo here for a suggested packing list, and go here for more info and tickets. 

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!