The Muny Announces Full Cast, Design and Production Teams for the Epic Love Story, West Side Story
ST. LOUIS (July 3, 2023) – The Muny announced today its full cast, design and production teams for one of the greatest and most powerful musicals of our time, West Side Story, July 15 - 21. West Side Story is proudly sponsored by Edward Jones.
“This will be The Muny’s ninth production of this American musical classic,” commented Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson, “and the excitement about this production feels so young. This amazing company and team are so inspired for us to see the show’s essential greatness anew.”
Joining the previously announced Christian Douglas (Tony), Kanisha Feliciano (Maria), Jerusha Cavazos (Anita), Yurel Echezarreta (Bernardo) and Ken Page (Doc) are Kyle Coffman (Riff), Drew Battles (Gladhand), James A. Butz (Officer Krupke), Cedric Leiba, Jr. (Chino), Michael James Reed (Lt. Schrank), Ethan David Zeph (Action), Caylie Rose Newcom (Anybodys), Ethan Van Slyke (Baby John), Daniel Assetta (A-Rab), Tanner Ray Wilson (Big Deal), RJ Higton (Snowboy) and Gabriel Amato, Angelica Maria Beliard, Jonathan Bryant, Veronica Sofia Burt, Devin Cortez, Daniela Delahuerta, Abbey Friedmann, Henry Julian Gendron, Yoni Haller, Eloise Kropp, Francis Lawrence, Macy McKown, Natalia Nieves-Melchor, Tatiana Nuñez, Courtney Ortiz, Daniel Pahl, Daniel Powers, Grace Marie Rusnica and Ronan Ryan. The company will also be joined by the Muny Teen ensemble.
This Muny production of the classic musical, as previously announced, is led by director Rob Ruggiero, choreographer Parker Esse, with music director/conductor James Moore, associate choreographer Erin N. Moore and fight coordinator and intimacy director Bart Williams.
The design team leading this production includes scenic design by Ann Beyersdorfer, costume design by Gail Baldoni, lighting design by John Lasiter, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Shawn Duan, wig design by Ashley Rae Callahan, with production stage manager Larry Smiglewski.
The Telsey Office is the official casting partner for The Muny.
CHRISTIAN DOUGLAS (Tony) Currently touring the country in Moulin Rouge, Christian was last seen in New York as Charlie Price in the off-Broadway revival of Kinky Boots. Other credits include the national tour of Pretty Woman: The Musical, as well as regional productions of Songs for a New World (The Gateway), Newsies (Arena Stage) and Gun & Powder (Signature Theatre). Before moving to New York in February 2021, Christian was an active-duty soldier and tenor in the United States Army Chorus. He performed as a soloist, singing “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, for the Italian presidential state visit at the White House. Christian is also a prolific songwriter and was an Artist in Residence at the Strathmore Music Center in Washington D.C. His debut album of original music, Inside Voice, was written, recorded and released during the pandemic.
KANISHA FELICIANO (Maria) Kanisha recently closed the historic run of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway as a Christine Daaé understudy. She also originated the role of Ann/Judith in Flying Over Sunset at Lincoln Center. Other credits include Lily from The Secret Garden at Sacramento’s Broadway At Music Circus, along with operatic roles such as Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Baby Doe (The Ballad of Baby Doe), Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and Amy March (Little Women).
JERUSHA CAVAZOS (Anita) Broadway: The Prom. Off-Broadway: Between the Lines. Regional (select): Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Barrington Stage Company. TV: Atlanta on FX and FBI on CBS. Her original music is streaming on all platforms.
YUREL ECHEZARRETA (Bernardo) has appeared on Broadway in West Side Story, La Cage aux Folles, Matilda, Disney’s Aladdin, Head Over Heels and Moulin Rouge. Most recently, Yurel appeared as Bernardo in West Side Story at Lyric Opera of Chicago. TV/Film: Comedy Central's Alternatino, Bravo's Odd Mom Out and The Last Five Years, starring Anna Kendrick. He had the honor of acting in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story and had the privilege of experiencing its release at premieres on both coasts. Yurel now lives in Los Angeles where he starred in Pasadena Playhouse's production of Head Over Heels, the Hollywood Bowl's Kinky Boots, and appeared on HBO's hit show Barry.
KYLE COFFMAN (Riff) Muny: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway; Newsies and West Side Story (2013). Broadway: Original cast of Newsies (Henry), original revival cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Christopher Lyon, u/s Deputy) and the original 2009 revival cast of West Side Story (A-rab, directed by Arthur Laurents). Regional: Oliver! (The Artful Dodger, choreographed by Parker Esse), The Music Man (Tommy Djilas), Sex with Strangers (Ethan Strange). Film/TV: Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (Ice), Desert Heart (Ryan), Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (Dakin). Upcoming film projects include Raymar (Raymar), Classmates (Brooks) and Bradley Cooper’s Maestro.
KEN PAGE (Doc) has performed in over 40 shows on the Muny stage. Ken is widely known as the voice of Mr. Oogie Boogie in the classic Disney/Tim Burton animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. He has performed the score sung live at The Hollywood Bowl, Barclay Center NY, LA’s Banc of California Stadium, the UK, Glasgow, London (SSE Arena, Wembley), Dublin and Tokyo. Films: Dreamgirls, Torch Song Trilogy, All Dogs Go to Heaven and more. Ken made his Broadway debut in Guys and Dolls as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the all-black revival, (Theatre World Award), and recreated the role at The Hollywood Bowl, followed by Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Sebastian, live-to-film). Other Broadway: Cats (Old Deuteronomy, Original Cast and Video/Film Casts, Grammy Award), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (OBC, LA, Paris, Drama Desk Award for Best Actor, Emmy Award, Grammy Award), The Wiz (Lion), It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues. London’s West End: Children of Eden (Father, OBC), My One and Only in Concert (London Palladium). Mr. Page’s solo concert Page By Page, was recorded live and released on CD (LML Music).
DREW BATTLES (Gladhand) Muny: Oklahoma! Other St. Louis credits include Ivanov, Art and August: Osage County for the St. Louis Actors’ Studio, Old Hearts Fresh and the Henry plays for Shakespeare Festival and Stairs to the Roof for Sudden View Productions. Regional credits include The Seafarer and Opus (Southern Rep Theatre), Macbeth and King Lear (New Orleans Shakespeare Festival), August: Osage County; A Doll’s House; Love’s Labour’s Lost; Pride and Prejudice (Swine Palace), Doubt (Hangar Theatre), My Fair Lady (Virginia Stage Company), Curse of the Starving Class, The Seagull, The Winter’s Tale, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Henriad (Trinity Repertory Company and Brown/Trinity Rep). Film/TV: Pitch Perfect, Thunderstruck, Law and Order: SVU; Breakout Kings. MFA Acting, Brown University/Trinity Rep.
JAMES A. BUTZ (Officer Krupke) Off-Broadway: The Odyssey (Willow Cabin Theatre). Regional: Lobby Hero, A Number, Freud’s Last Session at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Biloxi Blues, A Christmas Carol at Geva Theatre Center, The Lion in Winter at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Henry IV, Henry V, Hamlet (Kevin Kline Award), Julius Caesar (Kevin Kline Award), Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing for St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Night of the Iguana with the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, Uncle Vanya with Rebel and Misfits Productions, The Merchant of Venice, Intimate Apparel and New Jerusalem with The New Jewish Theatre, Dancing at Lughnasa, Measure for Measure at Mustard Seed Theatre, Amadeus at Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Romeo and Juliet at Santa Fe Summer Shakespeare. He has a BFA from Webster Conservatory and currently teaches Theatre at Westminster Christian Academy.
CEDRIC LEIBA, JR. (Chino) Off-Broadway: Kingdom (Public Theater), The Marchers (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater), Yellow Brick Road (Lortel Theatre), Sweet Charity (New Haarlem Arts Theatre, HOLA Award). Paris: Carmen La Cubana (Théâtre du Châtelet). National tours: Rent, Miss Saigon. Regional: La Cage aux Folles (Goodspeed), Chad Deity (TheatreSquared), Kingdom (Old Globe), Guys and Dolls (TUTS), Sweat (McCoy Rigby Entertainment), Hands on a Hardbody (CSFAC). Television: High Maintenance (HBO), The Blacklist (NBC), Pose (FX), The Switch (Fashion One Television), I Need Space (The New Group). Film: West Side Story (Featured Vocalist, 2023 Grammy nomination), Bros, Gets Good Light, Millie and the Lords. Cedric is the Co-Founder of DominiRican Productions which has been featured by Good Morning America, The Advocate, ALL ARTS and has created content for Roundabout Theatre Company, Pregones/PRTT, Bombazo Dance Company and The Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
MICHAEL JAMES REED (Lt. Schrank) Twelve years of Muny appearances, including last year’s Chicago, along with other past favorites like 1776, Fiddler on the Roof, Tarzan and The Sound of Music. Local audiences have seen him frequently at The Rep, most recently in A Christmas Carol and Pride and Prejudice. With St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Michael has appeared in over 10 productions, including Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV, Henry V and The Winter’s Tale. NYC credits include La Bête (Broadway), King Lear (Roundabout), Amphitryon (Classic Stage Company) and A Forest in Arden (New York Theatre Workshop). Regional credits include Old Globe, Pasadena Playhouse, Alley Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse and South Coast Repertory. Favorite TV credits: Numb3rs, 24, Six Feet Under, The Shield, The King of Queens, That ‘70s Show and Chicago PD. Michael is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
ETHAN DAVID ZEPH (Action) Regional: Camelot (Gulfshore Playhouse), West Side Story, Anything Goes (City Springs Theatre Company), A Chorus Line, An American in Paris, The Sound of Music (Music Theatre Wichita), Newsies, A Chorus Line (Lexington Theatre Company), Rock of Ages, Holiday Follies (Lake Dillon Theatre Company), Hairspray (American Stage). BFA, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
CAYLIE ROSE NEWCOM (Anybodys) NYC credits include Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular (Swing, Assistant Dance Captain), Noir, a new musical workshop (Scarlet), NBCUniversal Upfront (featured dancer). Tours: first national tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Ensemble, u/s Veruca Salt) and Fame The Musical (Ensemble, u/s Serena Katz). Select regional credits include Paper Mill Playhouse, Casa Mañana Theatre, North Carolina Theatre, Weathervane Playhouse and the Palace Theatre. Caylie was most recently seen in the opening number of the 2023 Tony Awards!
ETHAN VAN SLYKE (Baby John) is heading into his fourth year at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre. He is honored to be making his Muny debut in West Side Story! Regional: Arena Stage, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Forestburgh Playhouse.
DANIEL ASSETTA (A-Rab) From Sydney, Australia. Off-Broadway: The Light in the Piazza (u/s Fabrizio). Australia: Hamilton (Samuel Seabury), West Side Story, The Book of Mormon, Cats (Rum Tum Tugger), A Chorus Line (Al), Funny Girl (Ziegfeld Tenor), Wicked, Curtains, Follies.
TANNER RAY WILSON (Big Deal) Broadway: Hadestown, Cats, Head Over Heels (OBC). Other favorites include Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (first national tour), Radio City NY Spectacular, Saturday Night Live and Lempicka: A New Musical (Associate Choreographer, La Jolla Playhouse).
RJ HIGTON (Snowboy) Originally from Huntington Beach, CA, RJ is a graduate of The Orange County School of the Arts. He is also a proud alumnus of the BFA musical theatre program at The University of Michigan. TV: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (season five, Amazon Prime). New York: The Alley Dance (Tommy Rall, The Verdon Fosse Legacy, Ann Reinking, Lloyd Culbreath). Regional: Mamma Mia! (Pepper, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, directed by Terrence Mann), Cabaret (Victor, Connecticut Repertory Theatre), Billy Elliot (u/s Billy, La Mirada Theatre).
About the show:
One of the greatest and most powerful musicals of our time. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is a love story that has endured the test of time. Tony and Maria find themselves in each other’s arms in a dance of romance, but can they escape the tensions in the streets? The classic Sharks and Jets rivalry leaps onto the Muny stage for the first time in a decade. With the memorable “Maria,” “Tonight” and “I Feel Pretty,” this is your chance to fall in love with this story all over again!
For headshots and show logo, please click HERE.
The Muny’s 2023 Season includes Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (June 12-18), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (June 22-30), Chess (July 5-11), West Side Story (July 15-21), Little Shop of Horrors (July 25-31), Rent (August 4-10) and Sister Act (August 14-20).
Single tickets and Muny gift cards for the 105th season are now available online and at The Muny Box Office. For more information, visit muny.org or call (314) 361-1900.