The Pirates of Penzance, 2017. Photo by Cory Weaver.

West Side Story

Saturday, September 22, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2018 | 2:00 PM
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Friday, September 28, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Sunday, September 30, 2018 | 2:00 PM

Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Composer: Leonard Bernstein | Book: Arthur Laurents | Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Entire original production directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins.

Conductor: David Charles Abell
Director: Francesca Zambello

Approximate running time is 3 hours with one intermission.

Interested in more than one opera in our 2018-19 season? Subscribe online today, or call Ticketing & Patron Services at (816) 471-7344 to guarantee your seats for West Side Story.

Keep your friends close, and your enemy’s sister closer.

When the only family you’ve ever known is a gang, and the only home you’ve ever had is a small patch of turf, anyone from anywhere else is an outsider. It’s here on the West Side, springing from a crack in the sidewalk and surrounded by despair, that the greatest love story ever retold blooms—and burns.

When opposites inevitably attract, and when the unlikely new couple tries to reconcile their worlds, the more their dream of finding a place of their own is torn apart. And from the first cigarette to the final “te adoro,” watching is such sweet sorrow.

With the original symphonic score, and Jerome Robbins’s original choreography adding a kick of kinetic eye candy, tonight truly won’t be just any night.

Sung in English with English subtitles.


Single tickets on sale Monday, July 9. 

Photo Gallery

  • West Side Story Jet boys dancing. Photo credit: Lynn Lane for Houston Grand Opera.
    West Side Story Jet boys dancing. Photo credit: Lynn Lane for Houston Grand Opera.


Maria – Vanessa Becerra *Vanessa Becerra
Vanessa Becerra debuts with Lyric Opera in West Side Story, after debuting in the role at Glimmerglass Festival July-August 2018. A graduate of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program and the Young Artists program at Glimmerglass Festival, she made her professional debut with Ft. Worth Opera in Daniel Crozier’s With Blood, With Ink in 2014. Since then, she has performed as Musetta in La bohème and Laurey in Oklahoma! at Glimmerglass, and reprised the role of Musetta at Opera San Jose. The current season also brings concert performances of The Magic Flute with the LA Philharmonic, as well as her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Greg Spears’s Fellow Travelers as Miss Lightfoot; her Opera Omaha debut as Glauce in Medea; and her Atlanta Opera debut as Johanna in Sweeney Todd. Further performances include a concert of music by Donizetti with The Dallas Opera, and Sophie in Werther with Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Delaware.

Tony – Andrew BidlackAndrew Bidlack
Last seen on the Lyric Opera stage as Rob Hall in Everest (2017), Andrew Bidlack’s 2017-18 season has included roles as Beppe in I Pagliacci at The Metropolitan Opera, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville at Opera Santa Barbara, and Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas with Florida Grand Opera. Bidlack made his European debut in Welsh National Opera’s world premiere of Iain Bell’s In Parenthesis as Private John Ball at Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Other recent engagements include Tonio in La fille du régiment at Palm Beach Opera, Greenhorn/Ishmael in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick at Dallas Opera, Morcum in Justine Chen’s The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing at American Lyric Theater, Tamino/The Magic Flute with Madison Opera, and Zémire et Azor at Saratoga Opera. More recent roles include The Young Collector in A Streetcar Named Desire with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Irving Tashman in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera.

Riff – Brian Vu *
Brian Vu debuts with Lyric Opera of Kansas City in West Side Story. In April 2018, he debuts in the role of Riff in West Side Story at Houston Grand Opera and performs the role July-August 2018 at Glimmerglass Festival. As a Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist, Vu performed the roles of Baron Douphol in La traviata, Hannah Before in As One, John Brooke in Mark Adamo’s Little Women, and Figaro in The Barber of Seville student matinee. As a Young Artist at Glimmerglass Festival, Vu performed as Schaunard in La bohème, The Happy Prince in the world premiere of Ben Moore and Kelley Rourke’s Wilde Tales, and Jazz Trio Baritone in Trouble in Tahiti. A graduate of the Yale Opera Studio, his roles at Yale included Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Dapertutto in Tales of Hoffmann, Dandini in La cenerentola, and Marcello in La bohème.

Anita – TBD

Bernardo – TBD

The following roles will be updated as casting continues:
Baby John
Big Deal
Glad Hand
Lt. Schrank
Officer Krupke

* Lyric Opera Debut
+ LOKC Resident Artist
~ LOKC Young Artist
@ Former LOKC Young Artist

Creative Team

Conductor – David Charles Abell
Director – Francesca Zambello *
Choreographer – Julio Monge *
Set Designer – Peter J. Davison *
Costume Designer – Jessica Jahn *
Lighting Designer – Mark McCullough *
Associate Director – Eric Sean Fogel
* Lyric Opera Debut


Registration is now open for dancer/singers to portray various roles in the 2018 Lyric Opera of Kansas City production of West Side Story.

Specifically interested in performers with strong dance technique and/or classical vocal training. Auditioners will be asked to perform one classical musical theater song 32-64 bars. (May be asked to sing more). Please bring sheet music in the correct key. No a cappella auditions. For the dance call, women please bring heels and flats, if possible a rehearsal skirt; men please bring sneakers and knee pads. All bring one copy of a picture and resume. All auditions will be held in the Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building at 712 E. 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108For complete audition details, click here.



West Side Story is a co-production of Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

West Side Story is underwritten in part by the Enid and Crosby Kemper Charitable Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee, and the Hall Family Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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