“West Side Story” At The IU Opera Theater

Graduate students Jami Leonard and Emily Stokes take turns playing the part of Maria in the Indiana University Opera Theater’s production of West Side Story.

Event Information

West Side Story

by Leonard Bernstein Conductor: Rob Fisher Director/Choreographer: Joshua Bergasse


IU Musical Arts Center

April 9, 10, 17 and 18

West Side Story at the Jacobs School of Music

Indiana University graduate students Jami Leonard of Carmel, Indiana and Emily Stokes of Covington, Louisiana take turns playing the part of Maria in the Indiana University Opera Theater’s production of West Side Story. The two sopranos met as fellow cast members during the IU production of She Loves Me.

“I Twice Met A Girl Named ‘Maria…’”

The singers agree that Maria is a wonderful and challenging role. “For me, the challenge of Maria is the incredible emotional change and growth from the young innocent at the beginning to the tragic survivor at the end,” says Leonard. She adds, “it’s quite ‘rangy,’” in other words, Maria’s songs cover a wide register of notes, high and low.

Stokes tells us, “I come from a background in musical theatre. Here at IU, I’ve been working very hard on technique and classical approaches to tone production and support. Part of my challenge is to use that as a foundation for Maria’s voice.”

Neither of the women considers herself a dancer. Leonard observes, “actually, Maria doesn’t have to do that much dancing. She’s more of an observer in those sequences even when she’s on stage.” “Yes,” Stokes agrees. “We get to mostly be amazed by the students from ballet, modern dance and the Theatre Department.”

The Production

The guest conductor for West Side Story is Rob Fisher; the stage director and choreographer is Joshua Bergasse. “It’s amazing to see Josh’ Bergasse working with the dancers,” says Stokes, and Leonard agrees: “They are both deeply into musical theatre and very active on the professional scene.”

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Theatre & Dance Stories

Theatre & Dance Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

Our Photos on Flickr