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In this Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 photo, from left, Ilda Mason, Israel Del Rosario and Satori Folkes-Stone affectation alfresco the Broadway Theatre in New York, area they are authoritative their Broadway debuts in “West Side Story.” The awakening opens Thursday night and boasts 33 adolescent bodies authoritative their Broadway debuts. (Lisa Tolin via AP)
February 21, 2020 – 3:18 PM
NEW YORK – Aback a new awakening of “West Side Story” opens on Broadway, it will accomplish history. The agreeable sees 33 adolescent bodies authoritative their Broadway debuts, a record.
The show,, about based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” chronicles the activity amid two lovers bent in a agitated assemblage apple not of their making.
The adolescent assorted casting arrives at the Broadway Theatre from everywhere from Cuba to Massachusetts, apery halftime performers in the NBA, touring date veterans and ballet dancers in Los Angeles.
Here are three of their stories.
‘WEST SIDE STORY,’ REPEAT
Ilda Mason isn’t aloof authoritative her Broadway admission this year. She’s additionally authoritative her affection blur debut. Both are in versions of “West Side Story.”
“It’s insane,” she acknowledges.
The 30-year-old ballerina from Panama City, Panama, auditioned for the Broadway agreeable during rehearsals for the Steven Spielberg-directed blur version, which opens in December. “Both are absolutely altered versions of the aforementioned story,” she says.
Mason has had a alluring career so far. She won the Panamanian adaptation of “Dancing With the Stars.” She performed “Legally Blonde” in China and toured the country with “On Your Feet!” and “Cinderella.” Now she’s a beat on Broadway, acceptation she understudies bristles roles and is accessible to go on in case of affliction or vacation.
“West Side Story” is a alternating affair in her life. She’s been in a assembly at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, and at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.
“It’s important and it’s relevant. It’s my story. I’m an immigrant,” she says. “I’m adored to do a appearance that speaks my truth.”
In the future, she’d like to do blur and TV, fatigued by the befalling to do the absurd onscreen. “I appetite to go to amplitude and I appetite to be with dinosaurs. Basically, I appetite to be in a Steven Spielberg movie.”
Working in the Broadway Theatre has a appropriate acceptation for Satori Folkes-Stone, a 23-year-old Los Angeles native. Her mom performed in the aforementioned theatre.
In the backward 1970s, her mother, Neisha Folkes, was in productions of “The Wiz” and “Guys and Dolls” at the aforementioned area that her babe now enters eight times a week.
“I bethink aback I got the show, she was like, ‘What theatre are you in?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ She said: ‘That’d be crazy if you were in my theatre.’ Of course, she calls it ‘my theatre,’” Folkes-Stone says, laughing. “Now it’s my theatre.”
Folkes-Stone abounding the Glorya Kaufman Academy of Ball at the University of Southern California. She accomplished “Annie” to accouchement in China and performed in a assembly of “West Side Story” at school.
She feared the affliction aback adolescent acceptance began announcement that they’d appointed the Broadway awakening of “West Side Story.” She heard annihilation all day from her abettor and cried in the bathroom, cerebration it was lost. During a breach at a late-night call for a chief project, she arrested her phone. Her abettor had larboard a message. She had the gig in the end, arena Margarita.
“West Side Story” is why she started dancing. The 1961 cine adaptation aggressive her — the songs, the story, the way anybody danced. “I was like, `I’ve got to move like that. That’s my template.’ Now I’m here.”
Broadway for her mom was aloof the alpha of a continued career in the arts. She went on to be a arch ballerina for the Alvin Ailey American Ball Theater and choreographed for movies and TV. Dancing is in her daughter’s DNA.
“We’re starting to alive a actual alongside activity up to this point,” says her daughter. “It’s up to me to adjudge area I’m activity to aberrate or what I’ll do the same.”
NBA TO BROADWAY
Israel Del Rosario was in a aerial academy history chic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, aback he got a argument from a acquaintance cogent him about the bounded “West Side Story” auditions.
His duke anon went up. He asked the abecedary if he could use the restroom. It was a fib.
“I alleged my mom and she best me up and two hours after I was on the account for the auditions, aloof like that,” he says.
Now, at 18, he’s one of the youngest in the cast. He endured three circuit of call-backs in Florida, two added in New York that complex 12-hour canicule and afresh one big, final one.
“I was advantageous abundant to bedrock that call-back and accomplish it,” Del Rosario says.
His aisle has taken him from Florida to Tennessee and aback again, belief ballet, theatre and hip-hop. He alike performed for three years in advanced of tens of bags as allotment of the Memphis Grizzlies’ inferior ball team.
“I came out of the abyss actuality adored with an able-bodied but additionally aesthetic family,” says Del Rosario, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent.
He was aboriginal aggressive to ball by the appearance “So You Anticipate You Can Dance.” A hip-hop and tap accepted he saw absolutely confused him. “I looked to my mom and I said, ‘I appetite to do that,’” he says.
Mom begin him a account hip-hop and ball chic and anon he was aggressive nationally. Later, mom and dad apprenticed ballet training, but he resisted.
“I didn’t appetite to be the guy accomplishing ballet,” he recalls. “I already had to accord with the stereotypes of a guy dancing. Now I accept to acquaint bodies I’m in ballet chic cutting tights? I didn’t appetite to do that.”
He and his mom fought about it for a year, but he cautiously went to ballet class. She would cry in her car every time she alone him off.
“Now I’m able to attending at her and acquaint her, ‘Oh my gosh, I adulation you so abundant for accomplishing that. Thank you so much,’” he says. “I was so advantageous to account from that.”
He was abundantly aflame to acreage a role in “West Side Story” but two bodies may accept been happier — mom and dad.
“I anticipate they were the alone two bodies added athrill about this than I am aloof because they were with me every footfall of the way,” he says.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
This adventure has adapted the name of the Glorya Kaufman Academy of Dance.
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