Croswell to open 2018 season with concert version of "West Side Story"

The Croswell Opera House in Adrian will celebrate two milestones this weekend with a concert performance of the musical “West Side Story.”

This year marks the 100th birthday of composer Leonard Bernstein, who wrote the score for the classic musical.

It’s also the 50th anniversary of the Croswell’s rebirth as a live theater. In the late 1960s, the historic building was in danger of demolition. After it was saved from the wrecking ball, the first show produced on its stage with local talent was an Adrian High School production of “West Side Story” in the spring of 1968.

The concert, which kicks off the Croswell’s 2018 Broadway Season, includes a cast of 30 and an 18-piece on-stage orchestra.

Opening night, which coincides with the Croswell’s annual fundraising gala, is at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 12, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 13.

Brian Hissong, an Adrian native who played Tony in the 2006 international tour of “West Side Story,” will return to his hometown stage to sing the role. Hissong now owns a production company near Washington, D.C.

The roles of Maria and Anita will be sung by Hannah Sparrow of Ypsilanti and Alaina Kerr of Michigan Center. The role of Riff, leader of the Jets, will be sung by Casey Noce of Adrian, and the role of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks, will be sung by Rudy Gonzalez of Monroe.

The ensemble includes Erica Buechele, Rachel Cheng, Gabriel Ebeling, Emily Hribar, Justin Kohlruss, Natasha Ricketts, Xavier Sarabia, Lisa Schrock-Ohlinger, Brienna Scott, Crosby Slupe and Ja’Vaughn White, all of Adrian; Laura Metdepenningen and Virginia Rawlings of Brooklyn; Chloe Danley, Sarah Hodgman and Sarah Nowak, all of Tecumseh; Lauren DePorre of Erie; Pierce Mitchell of Hudson; Nina King of Jackson; Steven Kiss of Lambertville; Alexandrea McCarty of Muskegon; Alan Gibson of Ottawa Lake; Walter Book of Petersburg; Cordell Smith of Riga; and Sarah Hunter of Perrysburg, Ohio.

Jonathan Sills will lead an on-stage orchestra in performing Bernstein’s classic score. The concert is directed by John MacNaughton, with choreography by Hailie Hagedorn.

Tickets for opening night are $50 and include a postshow celebration with the cast. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday range from $30 to $50.

The next installment in the Croswell’s 2018 Broadway Season will be the musical “Mamma Mia!,” opening June 15.

The Croswell is at 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian. For information or to order tickets, call 517-264-7469 or go to

If you go

  • What: “West Side Story in Concert”
  • When: May 11-13, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday show at 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Croswell Opera House, 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian
  • Tickets: $30 to $50
  • More info:
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