“I FEEL pretty, oh so pretty,”17 year old Nicola Hall was singing at Queanbeyan’s Nouveau Riche Wedding and Evening Wear Shop in Monaro Street Queanbeyan yesterday.And she did look pretty, in one of the shop’s 50s-inspired frocks that had been loaned and later in the morning generously donated to Free Rain Theatre Company by the proprietor Jenni Norwood.
The occasion was a cleverly-devised media call for the company’s coming production of “West Side Story,” the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim version of the ageless “Romeo and Juliet” story.
Publicist Coralie Wood had remembered that the romantic heroine of the musical, Maria played by Hall, indeed worked in a bridal store and talked Norwood into giving over the shop for a photo shoot and publicity event. “I’ve never been in a bridal shop before,” a nervous male journo confided.
Hall told “CityNews” that Maria was the biggest part she’d ever played, although she had enjoyed parts in “Back to the 80s” and had played Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz” two years ago.
“The part creeps up on you,” she explained, “so that by the time the play finishes, I’m emotionally exhausted.” Hall said she had never trained her voice but had sung the role of Fantine in the Lyneham High School production of “Les Miserables,” where she had picked a tip or two.
After the fun with the bridal gowns was over, it was time for Hall to join her star-crossed stage lover, Lachlan Whan, who plays Tony, in the inspiring duet “Tonight”.Whan, usually cast as the tough guy, has stepped into a more serious role ths time, says director Anne Somes, reminding Citynews of her commitment to developing emerging stage talents.
The glimpses we caught yesterday gave assurance that “West Side Story” will continue to endure as one of the great stage musicals where story, song and dance merge perfectly.
Free Rain Theatre presents “West Side Story” at The Q, Queanbeyan, at The Q, Queanbeyan February 8-24, bookings to 6285 6290