Picture caption: PAIGE FRASER-HOFFMAN throughout a dance efficiency.
This extremely anticipated musical occasion, that includes nearly 100 artists, returns to Chicago’s greatest stage.
“West Aspect Story” depicts Tony and Maria – wide-eyed youngsters from two communities in battle, who fall in love. As their family and friends battle with each other, Tony and Maria lengthy for “a spot for us…someplace.”
Their songs illuminate each scene and permeate our tradition, from the romance of “Maria” and “Tonight” to the exuberance of “America” and the humor of “Gee, Officer Krupke.”
Add to that the daring, horny, iconic choreography of Jerome Robbins that smolders and sizzles with power, and you’ve got a timeless musical theater expertise that audiences will always remember.
The Crusader reached out to Paige Fraser-Hoffman, who performs Velma, a dancer, and who’s been dancing because the age of 4, for a dive into her background.
In 2019 after touring in New York, she was a dancer with Visceral Dance Chicago and the final Chicago manufacturing she did was as a visitor artist with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre.
Afterward, in 2019 she booked the “Lion King – Rafiki” tour.
And he or she shouldn’t be new to this Lyric manufacturing. “That is my second time doing ‘West Aspect Story’ on the Lyric Opera. I used to be so excited after I booked it in 2019, after I performed the position of Minnie, who was a Jet, and have that very same feeling now. It was the very first musical I ever booked, after years of working in live performance dance/firms in New York and Chicago.
“I’ve advanced a lot since final doing this present – not solely as an artist, however as an individual. I’m trying ahead to approaching this present with extra life expertise.”
Fraser-Hoffman’s Velma can be a Jet. “It’s been actually enjoyable to make totally different selections as an actress and be taught from this phenomenal star-studded forged. Everyone seems to be so inspiring!”
She is delighted that “West Aspect Story” has a various forged. “I feel it’s nice that [the musical] has diversified the forged, not solely does it give African Individuals a possibility to be a part of the long-lasting manufacturing, but it surely additionally makes it much more relatable to the world we dwell in right now.”
She spoke of different productions wherein she’s been concerned. “I’m additionally honored to have been part of the forged of the “Lion King” on Broadway. It is among the solely reveals on Broadway that has a predominately African American forged, which additionally hires South Africans and Pacific Islanders. I hope to see extra reveals on Broadway with this quantity of illustration – giving extra alternatives to folks of shade.”
Fraser-Hoffmann can be concerned in a namesake group that may be a Bronx-based nonprofit – providing free workshops and applications within the performing arts and wellness.
She serves as Chief Creative Officer and Program Director of Dance, and her aunt Lesmah Fraser shaped the Paige Fraser Basis and named it after her due to Fraser-Hoffman’s journey as a dancer with scoliosis.
The courses welcome all skills, and the group gives needs-based scholarships and companions with community-based organizations.
“College students who’ve participated in our free applications have gone to check and carry out on the Juilliard Faculty, the Rock Faculty and the Metropolitan Opera. Our predominant aim is to open an arts and wellness area within the Bronx, New York.”
Creative-wise, Fraser-Hoffmann is correct the place she desires to be. “I completely love musical theatre and the liberty we’re given to faucet into storytelling – and make totally different selections each single night time. Whether or not I’m a Jet or a Lioness, I’m excited to proceed to develop my artistry and hopefully encourage somebody within the viewers. I’d like to sooner or later be a principal in a present, so the work continues.”
Different forged members embody: Ryan McCartan and Kanisha Marie Feliciano, each of their Lyric debuts, within the roles of star-crossed younger lovers Tony and Maria.
Broadway at Lyric followers will hail the return of Amanda Castro and her electrical embodiment of the long-lasting position of Anita, joined by fellow authentic Lyric manufacturing castmate Brett Thiele along with his impassioned portrayal of Riff, the chief of the Jets.
The manufacturing additionally introduces Chicago audiences to Yurel Echezarreta (Broadway’s “Moulin Rouge,” “Head Over Heels,” “Aladdin” and Steven Spielberg’s movie of “West Aspect Story”) as Bernardo. Famend music director James Lowe will conduct this timeless masterpiece that includes members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Refrain.
The manufacturing runs from June 2 by way of June 25 on the Lyric Opera Home, 20 N. Wacker Drive.
For tickets and extra info, go to lyricopera.org/westsidestory.