AUDITIONS for West Side Story

Michigan Tech’s “Tech Theatre Company” will hold public auditions for the classic musical West Side Story, on Monday, January 16 – Wednesday, January 18. West Side Story changed the very nature of American Musical Theatre. With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim, the play was grounded in a distinctively “modern” sound.   Arthur Laurents’ book is inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where two young lovers cross the boundaries of an urban battlefield, questioning the cultural isolation that will allow them to live happily in a special place.   A place where everyone can grow beyond the confines of hate, poverty, and violence. Parts are available for singers and dancers, and a small number of non-singing roles.  The first night, Monday, auditions will be from 7:00 – 10:00 pm  (SINGING/DANCING/CHORUS ROLES); on Tuesday, January 17, 7:00 – 10:00 pm (NON-SINGING ROLE AUDITIONS ONLY); and on Wednesday, January 18, 7:00 – 10:00 pm (SINGING/DANCING/CHORUS ROLES).  Auditions will be held the Rozsa Center, in room 120 (Choir Room). To register, please visit

https://docs.google.com/a/mtu.edu/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScVhvamuX5QoBw9MbrMrSbmY6Wg0mMzelBqGgOmiKG_ANIZGQ/viewform?c=0&w=1 to fill out the AUDITION REGISTRATION FORM.  To be assigned an audition slot, you must fill out a registration form!  Fill out the Audition Form immediately.  Slots are limited so please help us by registering in advance.

What to prepare: You may sing a song from the show, or from another similar style production.  Please limit your selection to 3 minutes.  An accompanist will be provided.  If you sing something other than West Side Story, please bring a copy of your music for the accompanist.

 Wear comfortable clothes for dancing.  You will sweat.  If you have character shoes, bring them, otherwise sneakers are appropriate.

What to expect:  Singers/Dancers will be assigned a 90 minute audition slot.  One half of the audition will be learning and performing a dance combination.  The other half will be a singing audition.  Those auditioning for non-singing roles may audition on Thursday, January 19.  You will read from the script.

Callbacks will be Thursday, January 19.  A callback list will be sent out via email to all who auditioned following the Wednesday evening auditions. Please check your email so you don’t end up missing the Thursday audition should you be called back!  If you are called back, you will be asked to sing specific portions of music from the show, and you will read from the script.

Roles:  Jets and Sharks:  We are looking for cast members who, on stage, appear age-wise from the late teens to the mid twenties.  The script calls for a cultural/ethnic division between the Sharks and the Jets, with the Sharks appearing to be of mostly Puerto Rican descent.  We will openly consider actors of all ethnicities for all roles!

      Jets:

            Tony: Handsome, older teen-ager, who has outgrown the Jets.  Maria’s love. Tenor.

            Riff: Glowing, driving, intelligent, slightly wacky leader of the Jets.  Tenor.

            Diesel: Lieutenant to Riff, big, slow, steady. Baritone.

            Baby John: Youngest member of the Jets, awed at everything, even being a Jet;  tries to act like a big man, but is vulnerable.  Baritone/Tenor.

         A-Rab: Small of stature, enjoys everything, takes nothing seriously, unaware, can explosive. Baritone.

            Action: Most aggressive member of the Jets, a cat-like ball of fury. Baritone.

            Snowboy: Bespectacled, self-styled expert.  Baritone.

      Jets Girls:

            Anybody’s: Scrawny teen-aged girl, tries desperately to imitate the Jets, and wants greatly to be taken seriously by them.

            Velma: Riff’s girlfriend, young, slithery, sexy, lost in a world of jive.

            Graziella: Girlfriend of Diesel, impressed with herself.

            Others:  Depending on dance needs, other Jet girls may be cast.

      Sharks:

            Bernardo: Handsome, proud, fluid leader of the Sharks, with a sardonic chip on his shoulder. Baritone.

            Chino: Shy, gentle, sweet-faced young boy, the intended husband of Maria; Baritone.

            Pepe:  Lieutenant to Bernardo, typically proud, and resentful of discrimination; Baritone.

            Indio: Typically proud, and resentful of discrimination; Baritone.

            Luis: Typically proud, and resentful of discrimination; Baritone.

            Juano: Typically proud, and resentful of discrimination; Baritone.

            Toro: Typically proud, and resentful of discrimination; Baritone.

      Shark Girls:

            Maria: Lovely young and obedient immigrant Puerto Rican girl, excited and enthusiastic about her new life in America, but with stubborn inner strength that allows her to evolve into a strong woman; Soprano.

            Anita: Older (20’s) and wiser in the ways of the world, flashy, sharp-tongued, and with a knowing sexuality; Alto/mezzo-soprano.

            Consuelo: Tough, young Puerto Rican girl with bleach blond hair and lots of baubles; Mezzo-soprano.

            Rosalia: Young Puerto Rican girl, more demure, not too bright; Mezzo-soprano.

            Others: Depending on cast needs, several other Shark girls may be cast; Mezzo-soprano.

      The Adults: (Non-Singing Roles)

            Doc: Middle-aged drug store owner, tired and worn out.

            Lieutenant Schrank: Plainclothes policeman used to being in charge, superficially pleasant to cover his venom, fear, and bigotry.

            Officer Krupke: A not-too-bright street cop.

            Glad Hand: Nerdy, overly cheerful and ill-equipped social director at the local gym dance.

Production Dates and Rehearsals: Performing in a musical, especially of this magnitude, requires tremendous preparation and the rehearsal schedule will be rigorous, almost daily, including but not limited to many Sunday – Thursday evenings from 7:00 – 10:00 PM, from February 12 – April 12. The show will run for three nights, April 13 – April 15th, in the Rozsa Center.  Not everyone will be called for every rehearsal, however some rehearsals may change times, particularly on Sunday.  (We may have a separate dance call Sunday afternoons, for example, and a blocking rehearsal in the evening.)

At Michigan Tech, we often begin Tech rehearsals well before the traditional “week” before opening.  They are on the schedule two weeks before the performances.  While the listed times may be shortened, these technical rehearsals are mandatory.

For questions pertaining to auditions, contact Trish Helsel:  helsel@mtu.edu

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Room 120 (Choir Room)
1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931

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