‘West Side Story’ to open next week

Rebekah McCarroll and Tyler Halbrooks pose for a portrait as their characters in “West Side Story,” Maria and Tony.

One of Broadway’s most popular musicals will be on stage at Gainesville’s community theater next week.

Butterfield Stage Players will present “West Side Story” beginning Thursday, June 20. The musical retelling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” debuted in 1957 on Broadway as a tale of warring teenage gangs. The show’s focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theater. Its performances changed how musicals were staged, breaking common rules of choreography and storytelling, and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics propelled him to theatrical fame.

Director Alfred Weser of Gainesville and his team of more than 20 assistants has assembled a cast of more than 32 members who dance, act, sing and recreate the moments now etched in history of great Broadway productions.

Musical Director Susan Higgins and Choreographer Stephanie Stoffels worked with the cast and Sheldon Ledbetter headed up the technical side of things, creating the most complex set, lighting and sound ever on Butterfield’s Main Stage, according to spokesman Frank Mahnich.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, June 20 through June 29. Matinee performances will be at 2:30 p.m. Sundays, June 23 and 30.

Tickets are $15 for adults or $10 for children ages 4-17.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.butterfieldstage.org. The box office may be reached at 940-665-1284.

Sneak peeks at the cast and production will be posted to Butterfield’s Facebook page, according to a press release from the organization.

Butterfield Stage is at 201 S. Denton St. in Gainesville.