Opera Australia announces cast for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour

Opera Australia today announced the full cast for the Handa Opera production of West Side Story.

Sisters Luca (left) and Karli (right) Dinardo will square off in apposing gangs
Sisters Luca (left) and Karli (right) Dinardo will square off in apposing gangs

Joining opera/musical crossover stars Julie Lea Goodwin and Alexander Lewis is Melbourne-born Karli Dinardo in the role of Anita. Karli Dinardo has been gaining international attention as a rising musical theatre star following her performances in Hamilton (US National Tour), West Side Story (Carnegie Hall), and the starring role in Flashdance (US National Tour). Karli will be joined on stage by her sister, Luca Dinardo, who will play the tomboy Anybodys, pitching the sisters against each other on opposing sides of the famous West Side Story gang rivalry.

Mark Hill, best known for his acclaimed performances in Gypsy and Muriel’s Wedding The Musical (original cast) will play Riff, gang leader of the Jets, with Rubin Matters (Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) playing Diesel, Riff’s second-in-command.

Home and Away stalwart, Michael Beckley (Melba), joins the cast as the gruff beat cop, Officer Krupke. Jay James-Moody (The Book of Mormon, Herringbone) will play the well-meaning but ineffective Glad Hand.

Waldemar Quiñones-Villanueva, who has previously performed West Side Story on Broadway will make his Australian debut in the role of Bernardo. Waldemar has also performed in international tours of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Billy Elliot, and Evita.

“I was blown away by the calibre of Australian performers that auditioned,” said Associate Director and Choreographer Julio Monge, “For me, coming from New York, it’s incredibly exciting to see the connection these artists already have to the story, and I can’t wait to see them take ownership of this iconic musical and unleash it on the Sydney Harbour stage.”

The ensemble of Sharks and Jets include: Jakob Ambrose, Georgia Anderson, Chiara Assetta, Kaya Byrne, Dion Bilios, Adriano Cassaniti, Des Flanagan, Ben Gillespie, Luke Haberecht, Emma Hawthorne, Kimberley Hodgson, Scott Irwin, Luke Jarvis, Heath Keating, Oliver Lacey, Kristina McNamara, Joe Meldrum, Joe Miller, Tom New, Rune Nydal, Cassie O’Brien, Brittany Page, Benjamin Purser, John Reed, Michelle Rozario, Tom Struik, Dayton Tavares, Angelina Thompson, Olivia Vasquez, Jessica Vellucci, Romina Villafranca, David Whitney, and Jamie Winbank.

Set on the iconic over water on Sydney Harbour, the production will feature fireworks every night and a pop-up venue with comfortable grandstand seating. West Side Story on Sydney Harbour will run from March 22 to April 21. Tickets and more information are available at: Opera.org.au

Matt Edwards

Matt is a past owner of AussieTheatre, working as digital director from 2011 to 2019. He is also a performer, most recently appeared in the Australian tour of Mamma Mia! and previously in the Australian/NZ tour of CATS and Enda Markey's acclaimed production of Blood Brothers. As well as performing Matt keeps himself busy in the digital side of the arts working with web design agency Emptyhead Digital

Matt Edwards

One thought on “Opera Australia announces cast for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour

  • A magical evening by the water last night (28 March), but very disappointing that no brief is available of the performers, director ,designer. For departing visitors from Canada it was a pity that only the over- priced souvenir programme was available, and nothing online for those wanting to check the name of the excellent Maria.Even sadder, as we have been theatre people and can pass on our positive impressions.


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