TMT presents West Side Story

Trinity Life speaks to the cast and crew of Trinity Musical Theatre Society’s first production

This Wednesday to Friday, Trinity Musical Theatre Society (TMT) will be presenting their very own adaption of the classic West Side Story. The tale of two star-crossed lovers is about to take over the O’Reilly Theatre, where the audience will be whirled back to 1950s New York City. TMT are fresh to the cobblestones at Trinity, with this being their debut musical.

Séimí Campbell is the Director of the musical and is studying Musical Theatre at Trinity with the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM). Campbell has a wealth of experience under his belt, having been Assistant Musical Director of Trinity Hall’s annual musicals for the previous two years, as well as being Assistant Musical Director with Youth Musical Theatre (YMT). He has also worked on productions with numerous West End Directors, from Stuart Harvey to Alicia Frost.

When speaking to Trinity News, Campbell discussed why the society chose West Side Story to be their debut production: “Before we even founded the society, we spent ages discussing and debating what musical would be most suited. We went through them all!” Campbell continued: “we all wanted our first production to have a real and gripping story, an amazing score, and something that would be a challenging yet [would] showcase the huge talent that exists in Trinity – West Side Story ticked all the boxes.”

Rehearsals for the musical began in October, with over 250 applicants applying for a role in the musical. Campbell explained: “It was extremely difficult to shortlist down to callbacks, and even more so when choosing the cast. It always kills me when someone immensely talented and experienced with auditions […] simply just doesn’t suit the parts we are looking for. The cast could have been very different if we were doing ‘Rent’ or ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.”

Weekly rehearsals began in November in the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM). Campbell said that he was “so grateful to Deborah Kelleher and all at RIAM for opening their doors to us and being so welcoming to TMT on this, our first year”. The cast were shortlisted to 56 actors, singers and dancers.

Josh Hurley plays the leading role of Tony in the musical. Hurley is a Law and Political Science student who has just returned home from a year long World Tour with Celtic Woman, having toured across Europe, North America, China, Korea and South Africa. He has performed in numerous shows in the Helix, from being the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” to Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables”.

Speaking to Trinity News, Hurley said that “there’s a really special buzz in the society, given that it’s the inaugural production. I’ve been performing for years but I’ve always wanted to play the role of Tony, so I’m really looking forward to it- and to play opposite my best friend just makes it all the better.”

The role of Maria is played by Lainey O’Sullivan, a JF Drama student. O’Sullivan won Best Performance in a Leading Role in the 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Student Awards, following her performance as Queen Gertrude in Hamlet.

Kildare native Katie Clarke is playing Anita. This will be her third time playing the role, and she has been a part of musical theatre for 11 years. Clarke is also vocally trained, having been coached by the renowned tenor Owen Lynch for the past 7 years in the Newbridge Vocal Academy. Clarke said that “Anita is a vibrant and sassy role, full of wit and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to bring her out on stage in the O’Reilly Theatre!” Clarke continued by saying that “being a member of Trinity Musical Society has been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. The passion, spirit and pure energy that these members give out is beyond me. I have made so many friends, who I know I will keep for life.”

The other leads include Classical Singing student Berus Komarschela who plays Bernardo. Born in Hamburg, Komarschela joined the children’s choir at just ten years old. He was trained in Musical Theatre Performance in Joop van den EndeAcademy and moved to Dublin in 2016. Maruice Treacy, a fourth year dental student, plays the role of Riff. Treacy has acted in productions in both the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and Smock Alley Theatre and has performed in Bill Kenwright’s UK Tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”.

The stage will be alive and vibrant with the sound of music, brought by a live orchestra of 36 musicians from Trinity and the RIAM with a stage transformed to 1950s New York City, designed by SS Law and Business student Lauren McDonald.  

Senior Sophister clarinet and trumpet player Can Flynn is the conductor for the show, with JF Music Education student David O’Callaghan as the singers’ conductor. Abbie O’Neill is a JS Deaf Studies student and leads the choreography team and Alicia Newton, a JS oboe player for the RIAM Philharmonic Orchestra is the musical choreographer. Tamsin Greene Baker is a Politics, Philosophy, Economics and Sociology student and has danced in the English Youth Ballet as well as West End Stage Academy London. Michael Burns is the Chair of DU Dance and is a Hip hop, Jazz and Contemporary Dancer who has worked with top choreographers from Simon Barnum to Luke Browne.

The show is set to be a stunning one, with contribution from students across campus whom Campbell describes as “all equally amazing!” With Friday’s show already sold out, the clock is ticking for you to grab a ticket to this smash-hit musical. Theatre fans across the cobblestones are counting down the hours till the lights are dimmed and the curtain is pulled for their debut on Wednesday.

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.