There’s a place for West Side...

West Side Story: The classic arrives in MK from Tuesday
West Side Story: The classic arrives in MK from Tuesday

In our opinion, it has one of the best musical scores ever.

I Feel Pretty, Tonight, Maria and America pack an emotional punch – from expectation to yearning to love...before tragedy strikes.

We aren’t exactly ruining the ending of West Side Story when we mention the heart-rending ending either...after all, the work is based on the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet.

And centuries of readers know how that finished up!

This decidedly more modern delivery altered musical theatre when it launched amongst the dazzling Broadway set in 1957, and the film version that followed in 1961 recived 10 Academy Awards.

Many delicious musicals have followed since, and some before, but none has shone quite as brightly –WSS was voted the No.1 greatest musical of all time in The Times last year.

Set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, you’ll follow the rivalry between two teenage gangs – one white, the other Puerto Rican,

The Jets and the Sharks loathe each other, and when Tony falls for Maria, the sister of the rival gangs leader, the feud escalates.

Their love blossoms, but is overshadowed by violence and hatred with terrible consequences.

Its arrival at Milton Keynes Theatre – for a two week stay beginning on Tuesday – follows a sell-out season at London’s Sadlers Wells.

And a familiar face will be playing leading lady, Maria.

Katie Hall, a contestant on the Lloyd-Webber driven BBC1 search for Nancy in I’d Do Anything, will be Maria.

You will know her for her superb role as Christine in the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, which played here to rave reviews.

If you thought Katie had her work cut out in Phantom, she’ll tell you this role is harder.

“Maria is the hardest part I’ve ever done, because it is so emotionally draining...It really tires you out,” she says, but is clearly relishing her work.

“Everything I find challenging in this show is a really enjoyable challenge,” she adds.

This particular production – with Louis Maskell as Tony – has a fresh feel too, and Katie knows why: “It’s a younger cast than they’ve had in a long time,” she revealed.

“Some of the dancers are 19 and just out of college, so there is a very youthful energy to the show...”

With the choreography of Jerome Robbins and music and lyrics by Bernstein and Sondheim, West Side Story and its star-crossed lovers will tear at your heart strings.

Really, ticket holders should be issued with tissues on the way in, but you will need to take your own.

Book those seats now on 0844 871 7652...and behave – or Office Krupke will be on the warpath!

Call 0844 871 7652.