The WEST SIDE STORY you haven’t heard…
October 18 – November 13, 2022
By Matthew López
Directed by Zi Alikhan
Choreographed by Karla Puno Garcia
Notes from Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson on Somewhere:
We’re very lucky to have Zi Alikhan and Karla Puno Garcia bringing their remarkable talents to shaping this new production of one of my favorite of Matthew López’ plays here at Geva. Half musical (it has multiple gorgeous dance numbers!), half classic family drama, Somewhere is a complex love letter to Broadway, and a celebration of family love under pressure. It was the first play I got to work on with Matthew nearly a decade ago, and I’m so happy to be sharing it with the Geva community this season.
About the play:
It’s 1959, West Side Story has taken Broadway by storm, and from their family’s tiny apartment in the San Juan Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, the young Candelaria siblings dream of glamorous careers in show business. When the opportunity arises for this talented Puerto Rican family to audition for roles in West Side Story itself, all their dreams seem poised to come true – until a neighborhood-wide eviction abruptly threatens everything they have worked for.
Tony Award-winning playwright Matthew López offers a humorous, moving and dance-filled portrait of a family set on edge by gentrification, stubborn idealism, and a profound love of the performing arts. Directed by Zi Alikhan (Snow in Midsummer (CSC), Resident Director for Hamilton) with choreography by Karla Puno Garcia (world premiere Noir by Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow at Alley Theatre, Tick, Tick.. BOOM!.)
Open Captioner: Samantha Geffen
Sign Interpretation Program Coordinator: Luane Davis Haggerty
Director of Artistic Sign Language: Matthew J. Schwartz
Sign Interpreters: Denise Herrera and Nathanael Escalera Virgen
Audio Description Coordinator and Consultant: Rene Latorre
Audio Describer: Dave Baxter
IN-PERSON PROLOGUE IS BACK!
On select performance dates, come see an in-person prologue one hour before curtain. Prologue is free to attend, even if you do not have tickets for that performance date.
EDDIE GUTIERREZ (Alejandro Candelaria) is honored to rejoin the Candelaria family in his Geva Theatre Center debut. OffBroadway: Paul San Marco in A Chorus Line (New York City Center); Miss Abigail’s Guide… opposite Joyce DeWitt and Christine Pedi. Other NYC: Moments created with Moisés Kaufman and Tectonic Theater Project; Jimmy Maize’s 100-person production of Spoon River Anthology; and Eddie’s one-man show Loveology, which debuted at Ars Nova. Regional: A Chorus Line at the Hollywood Bowl; Matthew Lopez’s Somewhere alongside Priscilla López (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley); the World Premiere of Tony Meneses’s The Hombres (Two River Theater); and West Side Story at Musical Theatre West. Film/TV: Safe & Sound (Cannes Film Festival Short selection); This is Me; Conan. Upcoming films: One Week in Heaven; A Tangled Web; and Rhapsody in Blue. As a director and choreographer, Eddie works with Baayork Lee and the Michael Bennett estate re-staging Bennett’s original Broadway direction and choreography for productions of A Chorus Line around the country. B.F.A. NYU/Tisch. Thank you to Zi, Karla, everyone at Geva y mis Candelarias for making theater at a time when we need it most. Thank you to my team at KMR, mi familia, and Steven and Michael for believing in me and the endless support — I am eternally grateful. @eddie.ology
EAN CASTELLANOS (Francisco Candelaria) is proud to make his professional stage debut in Somewhere. A recent graduate of AMDA, his television credits include Michael Morales on the Apple+ series Five Days at Memorial, Tommy (CBS), and High Maintenance (HBO). He is grateful to his friends, family, and girlfriend Mimi for their love and support and would like to thank his team and Geva Theater for this opportunity.
MARIA CRISTINA POSADA SLYE (Rebecca Candelaria) Maria Cristina is a proud Cuban American woman and a daughter of an immigrant. She is honored to be a part of this story amongst such an incredible team! Endless gratitude to the doctors, nurses, front line workers, first responders, ushers, maintenance staff and science for helping us get to where we are today. New York Theatre: Evita (Mistress, New York City Center, Encores!), iAmericano! (Understudy Ceci/swing, Off-Broadway). National Tours: Hello, Dolly!, The Bodyguard Musical, Ghost the Musical, and Elf the Musical. Regional: West Side Story (Anita, Virginia Repertory Theatre/Florida Rep Theatre), Jesus Christ Superstar (The Muny), The Bodyguard Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse), Seven Brides…(Dorcas, Ogunquit Playhouse), A Chorus Line (Diana, Engeman Theatre), Buddy Holly (Maria Elena, North Shore Music Theatre), In the Heights (Carla, Hangar Theatre). Honor to God and thanks to the most supportive family imaginable! Endless gratitude to Brian at Artists & Advocates Agency! Proud AEA member. All Black lives matter! iPatria y Vida! Ig: @m_c_posada_ slye www.mariacristinaposadaslye.com
ZULEYMA GUEVARA (Inez Candelaria) Ms. Guevara is a NY based actress whose most recent stage credits include NY Times Critic’s Pic Bruise & Thorn for Pipeline Theater, Grand Horizons at People’s Light Theater in PA, and Azul for Diversionary Theater in San Diego. Previous theater credits include the New Jersey premier of Water by the Spoonful at Kean University, Columbia Stages La Paloma Prisoner and The Hour of The Star, the world premiers of Seven Spots on the Sun at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Working Theatre’s production of La Ruta and Uncommon Sense for Tectonic Theater. TV credits include Sonia’s Choice for the #imhere campaign, Law and Order, Limitless, Gotham and various commercial credits. Film credits include Rope Art, New York State of Mind, the recently released Third Trinity and upcoming: The Meal and Tumba Del Mar.
ZACH MCNALLY (Jamie) is thrilled to make his debut at Geva Theatre! Broadway: West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof. Off-Broadway: The Big Mix (Little Island), Help (The Shed), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova), Seeing You (Ryan Heffington, Dir.), Sleep No More. Television: Recurring roles on STARZ’ Hightown and HBO’s The Plot Against America, and Guest Star on CBS’ Blue Bloods. Thanks to my family, friends, Jesse, and Team Katz for their unending love & support! Follow Zach: @_ZachMcNally
MATTHEW LÓPEZ (Playwright) is an American playwright and screenwriter. His play The Inheritance, directed by Stephen Daldry, is the most honored American play in a generation, sweeping the “Best Play” awards in both London and New York, including the Tony Award, Olivier Award, Drama Desk Award, Evening Standard Award, London Critics’ Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Honors, Drama League Award, and GLAAD Media Award. He is the first Latine writer to win the Tony Award for Best Play. In New York, Matthew’s work has been seen Off-Broadway with The Whipping Man and The Legend of Georgia McBride. Other works include Somewhere and Reverberation, The Sentinels, and Zoey’s Perfect Wedding. Matthew is currently co-writing the musical adaptation of the classic film Some Like it Hot. Matthew is also working on a reimagining of the iconic 1992 Whitney Houston box office hit, The Bodyguard, for Warner Bros, as well as a feature film adaptation of the novel Leading Men for Searchlight Pictures, which centers on Tennessee Williams and his longtime partner Frank Merlo. Matthew will be making his directorial feature debut with the LGBTQ+ romantic comedy Red, White & Royal Blue for Amazon Studios. In addition to directing the film, Matthew has adapted the script, based on Casey McQuiston’s bestselling novel. In October 2020, he signed an overall television development deal with Amazon Studios.
ZI ALIKHAN (Director) Zi Alikhan is a queer, firstgeneration South AsianAmerican, culturally Muslim theater director. DIRECTING: Sanctuary City (Pasadena Playhouse), On That Day in Amsterdam (Primary Stages), Snow in Midsummer (Classic Stage Company), The Great Leap (Portland Center Stage), Manik Choksi’s The Ramayan (currently in development at Ars Nova), Ragtime (Playmakers Repertory Company). UPCOMING: A Nice Indian Boy at Olney Theatre Center and RENT at Paper Mill Playhouse. Zi was named one of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color in 2021.
CHIKA SHIMIZU (Scenic Design) Chika Shimizu is a New York based scenic and projection designer. Her design credits include The Great Wave (Berkeley Rep), Sanctuary City (Pasadena Playhouse), The Great Leap (Portland Center Stage), The Winning Side (Epic Theatre Ensemble), Awake (The Barrow Group), The Naturalists (Soho Rep), Vietgone, Tiger Style! (TheatreSquared), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Yale Rep, CT Critics Circle Award Nom). Her installation credits include Another Dream, Un(re)solved (Ado Ato Pictures, 2022 SXSW Innovation Award). MFA in Design from Yale School of Drama. chikashimizu.com
RODRIGO MUÑOZ (Costume Design) NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: Prospect Theater Company: Notes from Now. | Theatre Row: This Space Between Us. | The Bushwick Starr: Preparedness. | Red Bull Theatre: Volpone, The Revenger’s Tragedy. REGIONAL: Huntington Theatre: The Bluest Eye.| Shakespeare TheatreCompany: Red Velvet. | Arizona Theatre Company: How To Make an American Son. | People’s Light: Mushroom. | Boston Lyric Opera: Fall of the House of Usher. | Portland Stage: Bad Dates. | Fordham Theatre: Water by the Spoonful. | The Movement Theatre Company: Impulso. | Abrons Arts Center: Jazz Singer. PERSONAL: Rodrigo is a NewYork based designer originally from Mexico City. | www.rodrigomunozdesign.com.
MATTHEW RICHARDS (Lighting Design) GEVA: Premier. Broadway: Ann starring Holland Taylor. Opera: Macbeth at LA Opera. Off-Broadway: Is God Is at Soho Rep; The Killer, Tamburlaine, and Measure For Measure at Theatre For a New Audience; The Atlantic; B.A.M.; LCT3; MCC; Playwrights Horizons; Play Co.; Primary Stages; Second Stage; Rattlestick Theater. Regional: Actor’s Theater of Louisville; Arena Stage; Baltimore’s Center Stage; Cincinnati Playhouse; Cleveland Playhouse; Dallas Theater Center; Ford’s Theatre; The Goodman; Hartford Stage; The Huntington; Long Wharf; The Old Globe; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Shakespeare Theatre; Syracuse Stage; Westport Playhouse; Williamstown Theatre Festival; Yale Repertory Theatre.
ANDREW MARK WILHELM (Sound Design) Andrew is the current Sound Department Supervisor for Geva Theatre Center, as well as a Sound Designer. He most recently was the Associate Sound Designer for Jane Eyre. Previous Geva credits include Sound Designer for How To Catch Creation, Airness, Ring of Fire, Once the Musical, and Revival: The Resurrection of Son House & Video Engineer for The Real James Bond…Was Dominican. He spent most of pandemic working on digital audio and video content for Geva, including the Recognition Radio festival, Christmas Carol on WARM 101.3, and Where Did We Sit on the Bus? Before Geva, he was a Sound Engineer and Resident Designer for PCPA in Santa Maria, California. Hailing originally from the Detroit area, with a BFA in Theatre Technology & Design from Oakland University, Andrew is fortunate to have worked in theatres from Florida to California, before settling here in Rochester at Geva.
Dan Roach (Assistant Sound Design)
JULIAN HORNIK (Composer) Julian Hornik is a composer, lyricist, and librettist whose work has been performed at, amongst others, The Kennedy Center, New York City Center, Ars Nova, Symphony Space, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, and the Yale School of Drama. He has written for the New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Gay Men’s Choruses, and developed shows at Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat, Vineyard Arts Project, Orchard Project, the Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project, and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop. Film and TV projects include Share (Sundance and Cannes official selection), and the animated musical series Helluva Boss. Julian is the recipient of the 2017 Lucille and Jack Yellen Award and the 2018 Sammy Cahn Award from the ASCAP Foundation, Yale’s Norman Holmes Pearson Prize, and is a 2020 Jonathan Larson Grant finalist.
KARLA PUNO GARCIA (Choreographer) is a proud Filipina-American artist based in NYC. She has performed on Broadway, National Tours, TV, and film for years. Most recently, she was a swing in Hamilton: An American Musical for 6 years. As a female choreographer of color, Karla strongly emphasizes musicality and unapologetic individuality to create worlds and bring characters to life. She is excited to tell NEW stories where all perspectives are seen and exist naturally. Favorite choreography credits include additional scenes in the Netflix film Tick, Tick … BOOM!, directed by Lin Manuel Miranda; ENCORES Off-Center production of GONE MISSING; the world premiere of Other World at Delaware Theatre Company; the Prospect Theater Company production of 1001 Nights and A Day; and Virginia Repertory’s production of IN THE HEIGHTS for which she received the Richmond Theatre Critics Award for Best Choreography. She most recently choreographed a new musical NOIR, written by Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow, and directed by Darko Tresnjak, which premiered at the Alley Theatre. Her short films The Spot, They Wake, and Bustin’ Loose were selected for several film festivals including San Francisco Film Festival, Indie Cinema Awards, and Experimental Dance/ Music Festival. www.KarlaPunoGarcia.com Love to Mommy, Jitter, Rocky, Daddy above, and my David.
CHRISTIN EVE CATO (Dramaturg) is a playwright and performing artist from the Bronx. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Indiana University and completed her BA in Political Science and Philosophy at Fordham University. Cato is also a graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and the Performing Arts. She is affiliated with NYC theater companies, Pregones/PRTT (ensemble member & former Resident Dramaturg), INTAR Theatre (UNIT 52 ensemble member), and the Latinx Playwrights Circle. Cato’s artistic style is expressed through Caribbean culture and the Afro-Latinx diaspora, honoring her Puerto Rican and Jamaican roots. Recent off-broadway productions include The Good Cop (DUAF 2022). Upcoming productions include Sancocho (Vision Latino Theatre Company/ Destinos, 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival); American Made (Samuel French OOB Festival/NYC); and an audio play journey, The Mayor of Hell’s Kitchen Presents: A Time Traveling Journey Through NYC’s Wild West (The Parsnip Ship & Playwrights Horizons/ NYC). Publication/Contributor credits include: We Are Not Neutral (Amazon Books) and, launching soon, Latinx Actor Training (Routledge). She has developed her work with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Harlem9, Pregones Theater, Milagro Theatre, Borderlands Theater, Teatro Vivo, Smith College, Indiana University, Texas State University, Cardinal Stage, The Road Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Piper Theatre Productions, and many others. Cato is also the 2020 Greater Good Commission recipient for Afro-Latinx writers and the 2021 ReImagine New Plays in TYA grant. She is a 2021-2022 PWC Core Apprentice Playwright. An aspiring screenwriter, she is currently represented by 3 Arts Entertainment. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
STEWART/WHITLEY (Casting) Duncan Stewart CSA and Benton Whitley CSA. Stewart/Whitley. BROADWAY/NY: Hadestown, The Lightning Thief, Rock of Ages, The Great Comet of 1812, The Black Clown (Lincoln Center), A Clockwork Orange, On The Town, Pippin, Chicago The Musical, La Cage Aux Folles, As You Like It, Elf the Musical, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Carnegie Hall West Side Story, The Band Wagon, Stuffed, Curvy Widow, Pageant; WEST END/UK: Hadestown (London’s National Theatre), Thriller Live, Menier Chocolate Factory; TV: Death Saved My Life (Lifetime), Tiny Pretty Things (Netflix), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC/Lionsgate), Freaky Friday (Disney Channel); FILM: They/ Them/Us, The Lost Daughter (directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal); TOURS: Hadestown, Hairspray, The Lightning Thief, Finding Neverland, Waitress, SpongeBob, A Bronx Tale, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Bodyguard, Dirty Dancing, The Sound of Music, Elf the Musical, Into The Woods, Once, Shrek, Flashdance, Anything Goes, Bullets Over Broadway, The Duck Commander Musical, We Will Rock You; UPCOMING: Sunday In The Park With George, Paradise Square, A Wonderful World, Moby Dick, Love Actually Live, Stephen Schwartz’ The Prince of Egypt, August Rush, Stu for Silverton; REGIONAL: American Repertory Theater, The Alley Theatre, Carnegie Hall, Bay Street Theater, Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), Hollywood Bowl, LA Phil, The Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Goodspeed, The Ahmanson, Seattle’s 5th Avenue, Asolo Rep, TheatreWorks, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Miami New Drama, For The Record productions, Aida Cruise Lines, and the Broadway-branded shows on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Prior to forming Stewart/Whitley, Benton worked in the in-house casting department for National Artists Management Company (NAMCO) on various productions in development for Broadway and West End. Previous to this he assisted in the casting of 2009 Broadway revival of Ragtime, and regional world premieres by Randy Newman and Terrance McNally. Benton has been a TV guest judge and panelist for ABC’s Emmy-winning, “Extreme Weight Loss” and was recently named by artinfo.com as one of the “Top 25 Under 35 Emerging Broadway Players”. He is often a guest lecturer and seminar/workshop leader at The Broadway Collective and schools and universities around the country, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Department. Mr. Whitley is a two time Artios Award winner and a proud member of the Casting Society of America (CSA). In addition to casting, Benton is the co-host and co-producer of the podcast Why Here, now streaming on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
DARLENE MIYAKAWA (Stage Manager) is happy to be part of Geva’s 50th Anniversary Season! At Geva: Yoga Play (SM), How to Catch Creation (ASM), Vietgone (SM). Other current and past credits include: LA Dance Project, Barrington Stage Company, Opera Maine, Piedmont Opera, Long Beach Opera, Opera San Jose, East West Players, South Coast Repertory, California Symphony, Getty Villa, Fort Worth Opera, TriCities Opera, Opera San Antonio, Playwrights’ Arena, New York City Opera, Opera Memphis, LA Philharmonic. Based in Los Angeles.
JESSICA AMES (Assistant Stage Manager) Jess (she/her) is thrilled to be living the dream making theatre amongst such a wonderful community! Jess has stage managed many handfuls of shows, including most recently: Generic Male (Push Physical Theatre), Rise: A New Rock Musical (JCC SummerStage), Little Shop of Horrors (JCC CenterStage), Tracy Jones (JCC CenterStage), Vietgone (Geva Theatre Center), and Something Rotten! (JCC SummerStage). Much love to Haydon and me Mum.
CHRISTOPHER MANNELLI (Executive Director) Joined Geva in 2016 from Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, a Tony Award-winning institution dedicated to new plays and playwrights, where he has served as Managing Director. During his five-year tenure he led the reorganization of the institution and was responsible for the strategic planning, fundraising, and audience development initiatives that created the theatre’s new business model. Chris oversaw numerous award-winning productions, increased contributed income, and launched innovative membership and audience engagement initiatives. Prior to his work with Victory Gardens, he served as Deputy Director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, one of the largest nonprofit theatres in Chicago. He oversaw operations and helped to produce the theatre’s “World Stage” international programming, including Chicago Shakespeare’s f irst ever tour to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Before moving to Chicago, Chris was the Managing Director for HotCity Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. In this capacity, he was instrumental in the company’s financial and programmatic growth, which included education programs, new play initiatives, and several collaborations with prominent arts organizations. He has served on the board of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres, as a steering committee member for Enrich Chicago (a group of arts organizations in Chicago working collectively to address racial equity), and as a board member for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce and the community board of Emerald City Theatre. In 2017 he was appointed to the New York State Council on the Arts’ Theatre Advisory Panel, where he served for two years. He has also served on the board of directors for the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), and the Washington Square Park Community Association. He currently serves on the corporate board for the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center and the board of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) as a member of the executive and nominating committees. Chris grew up on Long Island and began his career as an actor and a musician, touring nationally and internationally. He holds a B.A. in opera performance from the SUNY Geneseo School of Performing Arts, an M.F.A. in Arts Leadership from DePaul University, and an Executive Scholars Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON (Artistic Director) has built a distinguished career as a producer, director, dramaturg, and adaptor. She has worked extensively throughout the U.S. and around the globe, including on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in London’s West End before becoming the Artistic Director of Geva Theatre in 2022. For Geva Theatre, she directed and adapted Jane Eyre to launch the 50th Anniversary season. Other recent projects include dramaturging the Young Vic/West End/ Broadway production of Matthew López’ The Inheritance (Tony, Olivier, Critics Circle, Evening Standard, GLAAD, and Drama Desk Awards for Best Play, Outer Critics Circle Honoree); dramaturging the Hartford Stage/ Broadway productions of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical) and Anastasia; artistic producing, co-directing and dramaturging the online version of Sarah Gancher’s Russian Troll Farm (TheaterWorks Hartford/TheatreSquared/The Civilians, New York Times’ “Best Theater of 2020”); directing and adapting Jane Eyre (Hartford Stage); dramaturging Bess Wohl’s Make Believe (Outer Critics Circle Honoree, New York Times’ “Best Theater of 2019”); and directing Henry V (Hartford Stage). Williamson’s extensive organizational leadership experience includes serving as Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager at Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City from 2008 – 2012 and as Associate Artistic Director and Director of New Play Development at Hartford Stage from 2012 – 2020. As a freelance artist, she has also worked for About Face Theatre, the Act French Festival, ACT, Berkeley Rep, Cal Shakes, Court Theatre, Figureatret i Nordland in Norway, HERE, the La Jolla Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Primary Shages, Theatre de La Jeune Lune, Universal Studios, Westport Country Playhouse, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and London’s Young Vic. Education: M.St. Oxford University, B.A., Bennington College, trained at the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq: in Paris and with Complicité. She is the 2007 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literary Translation. Member: SDC, LMDA.