Al Joens interviews Marc Koeck, who will play "Tony" in West Side Story with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra in April
Alexis Semevolos will play "Maria" in West Side Story
SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -
"West Side Story" is coming to Sioux City next month, in a way you've never seen it before. Officials with the Sioux City Symphony went to New York City to audition cast and crew to stage the musical at the Orpheum Theatre. The full symphony will provide the music for the modern day "Romeo and Juliet" story as part of its "Bernstein at 100" celebration.
Cast and crew members will arrive in Sioux City on Monday, April 2 to begin work on the production, which opens a two-day run on Saturday, April 21st.
KTIV's Al Joens visited with some of the cast via Skype for a preview of their visit.
"I am SO excited!' said Alexis Semevolos, who plays the female lead role of "Maria." "I love West Side Story, it's my favorite show to do, my favorite role to play and I'm thrilled to see Iowa. I've never been to Iowa, I've never been to Sioux City so I'm very excited."
Marc Koeck, who plays the male lead "Tony" in the musical, said "I'm really excited. You know, I've been working on West Side for about 2-1/2 years now, and I've done it all over the world. I've been in Singapore and Bangkok, Manila, Florida and NY. I'm really excited to come home, actually and do this back in the Midwest. It feels good. It feels right. It feels like I'm coming back to my people." Marc is a native of Fargo, North Dakota, who says he's been THROUGH Sioux City, but never really TO Sioux City.
Lauren Csete plays "Anita." She said she's fired up about the production coming to Sioux City. "I'm very excited, I've never done it with an orchestra, you know, a large piece orchestra."
"So a lot of times when you do a show, you end up with 10-12 parts in the orchestra because it's very expensive to put a full symphony together to do it," said Koeck. "So, doing this with the full symphony is really going to show off the music. I've never sung it with this many parts before. I'm really excited to hear Bernstein's score so fully developed."
"This score is absolutely magnificent," added Csete. "And I think to hear it played by a symphony plus the amazing cast that we have is going to be truly spectacular, like I'm surely going to cry immediately."
The show opens April 21 at the Orpheum. So why are cast and crew coming to Sioux City 3 weeks early?
"As you may know, "West Side Story is a very difficult show," said Semevolos. We have to get the whole show up in a few weeks, learn all the music, all the choreography, stage the whole thing and combine that of course with the symphony and the music so it's a lot of work that goes into putting up a production like this so, it's more than meets the eye."
Lauren added, "The show is a lot of work. It's a lot of dancing, a lot of hard music. You need a lot of time to do it well."
What can Siouxlanders look forward to from this production? "If you haven't seen West Side Story it's a love story, it is a classic story of telling of Romeo and Juliet that really resonates with our time," said Koeck. " You're going to be able to see issues of race and violence and love and hopefully something that doesn't feel dated but will remind you a little bit of the struggles we go through in our day-to-day lives and told beautifully through music and dance."
The actors will live and rehearse in Sioux City for three weeks ahead of the performances Saturday, April 21st and Sunday April 22nd at the Orpheum.