Due to an injury sustained at Sunday evening’s performance of West Side Story, Ben Cook who plays the character of “Riff” will depart the production poised to open on February 20, 2020. Stepping into the role will be Dharon E. Jones who initially played “Action” in the Ivo Van Hove revival of the musical theatre classic.
Jones, a native of Brooklyn, began dancing at the National Dance Institute and went on to graduate from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, appearing in Grease, In the Heights, and Beauty and theBeast. Other credits include Little Shop of Horrors as Orin Scrivello, DDS (site-specific at Ithaca College), Newsies, 1776. Film: Champions,Saturday Church. On television, he has appeared on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Jonesmakes his Broadway debut in West Side Story.
West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957 under the direction of Jerome Robbins, who also provided the show’s Tony Award-winning choreography. With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the musical was produced by Robert E. Griffith and Harold Prince. The cast featured Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence, and Chita Rivera.
The current production, under Van Hove’s direction, will feature new choreography by Anne Teresa Keersmaeker. The musical will be a streamlined take on West Side Story, with the musical being performed without an intermission, heightening the intensity that builds towards its final, harrowing conclusion,
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
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