Published: 14/12/2013 11:36 - Updated: 13/12/2013 11:50

Starlight search for a Maria to put in the spotlight

Garry Black will be swopping his axe for a switchblade as a gang leader in West Side Story.
Garry Black will be swopping his axe for a switchblade as a gang leader in West Side Story.

STARLIGHT Musical Theatre is looking for help to solve its own problem like Maria.

After the success of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Eden Court in August, the locally based company starts production rehearsals in early February for its 2014 show, the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim musical West Side Story.

The company have already pre-cast some of the leading roles, which will be performed in Eden Court’s Empire Theatre in early August.

After leading roles in Inverness Opera Company’s productions of Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical and Guys and Dolls, James Twigg will take on the role of Tony. Anita will be played by Nicola Gray, who will probably be better known to Inverness theatre-goers under her maiden name of Nicola MacAskill. Her brother Liam MacAskill is Riff, leader of the Jets, and Garry Black, who played the male lead in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, is his rival Bernardo, leader of the Sharks.

However, the company is still looking for someone to fill the female lead role as Maria and will be auditioning for the part in early January.

"We have already received a number of enquiries to audition, and are very encouraged with the response to date," Donnie Matheson, one of the co-producers of Starlight, said.

"However, it had always been Starlight’s ethos to encourage young people in particular to have a chance to perform in a full-scale musical on one of the best stages in Scotland. We are opening up the auditions to anyone who feels she has the talent to carry the role."

The company’s talent search will not just be focussed on females.

"We are also looking for some young men to be part of the two gangs, The Jets and The Sharks," co-producer Peter Kelly added.

"Experience is not always as necessary as a commitment and a willingness to learn.

"Although we have pre-cast some of the principal roles, there are a number of other parts, both male and female, to be cast, and our aim is to bring the best possible cast together to achieve a very high standard production. Although rehearsals are quite intense, they are a lot of fun and going by past experience, everybody enjoys the friendly way director Roma MacAskill and Choreographer Nicola Gray achieve their goal in driving the production to a high-quality conclusion."

The musical director is Steve Jones, who will take charge of a 19-piece orchestra for the show.

"Anyone interested in auditioning for Maria, or for any of the supporting female roles, or for gang members, should visit Starlight’s web page at starlightmusicaltheatre.com and click on West Side Story, where they will find an audition application form to complete," Kelly added.

Anyone interested in the show can also email Starlight on starlightmusicaltheatre@live.co.uk

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