Musical Society begins preparing “West Side Story” as opening night for “Ole King Cole” draws near

Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society members took time out from rehearsals for their Halloween panto “The Adventures of Old King Cole” last week to begin preparations for their landmark 100th show “West Side Story”.

Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society members took time out from rehearsals for their Halloween panto “The Adventures of Old King Cole” last week to begin preparations for their landmark 100th show “West Side Story”.

More than 50 Musical Society members as well as prospective newcomers attended a launch night for the acclaimed Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical at The Strand Theatre last Friday night.

Most of the key members of the show’s production team including director Liam Butler, chorus master Eamon Ryan and choreographer Patricia Woods were at the function to tell people interested in getting involved in the show about their plans.

The show, last staged by Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society in 1993, will be staged at the Strand Theatre next March.

Auditions for lead and chorus cast members will take place at the theatre on Sunday, November 11 with female cast auditions at 2.30pm and male cast auditions at 3.30pm. Rehearsals will begin the following week.

Carrick Musical Society PRO Ray Nolan said they were very happy with the turnout at the launch and pointed out that anyone who missed the launch but wished to take part in the show should contact the Musical Society for information.

“There were some new faces there but some older faces as well. As always, we would still like to have more men in the cast. Our door is always open for new members,” he said.

Audition packs were given out at the launch and a promotional film showing some of West Side Story’s big scenes was shown.

West Side Story’s director Liam Butler outlined his vision for the production at the launch party and spoke about the challenges the musical presented and the commitment from members it will require.

Ray Nolan said they have begun preparations for West Side Story a bit earlier than other spring shows because it’s such a big and challenging production.

“It’s known among musical people as a show that amateur societies should never do. The level of acting, singing and dancing is of such a high standard that many societies would struggle with it. It’s certainly a challenge,” he told The Nationalist.

And because of West Side Story’s scale, prestige and popularity Carrick Musical Society is expecting performers from other musical and light opera societies to audition for their production.

“There is a great buzz surrounding it. People like to be in it and it’s a show that isn’t done very often. We wanted to make sure our 100th show was going to be a bit special. We have done all the premiers and it was almost 20 years since we did this musical so we have decided to give it a go,” said Ray.

Meanwhile, rehearsals for “The Adventures of Old King Cole” are in full swing at The Strand Theatre and tickets for the show are now on sale.

The show, which is the Musical Society’s 99th production, opens at the theatre on Sunday, October 21 and runs until Sunday, October 28.

The Musical Society is very fortunate to have a very young panto cast full of enthusiasm and energy.

Ticket booking opened on October 1 and tickets are priced at €12 and €15. Call to the box office in the Theatre or phone (051) 645050 between 11am and 1pm and 2pm and 4pm each day, Monday to Friday to book your tickets. Tickets can also be booked online at

Meanwhile, Strand Theatre directors and committee and Musical Society members thank Carrick-on-Suir Lions Club for their generous donation to the Theatre Building Fund.

The Society is very lucky to have such generous patrons at a time when money is so scarce. As a small gesture of thanks, the Society performed at the launch of the Lions Club “Message in a Bottle” national initiative at Ormond Castle on Friday, September 28.

Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society will stage the Broadway classic “West Side Story” at the Strand Theatre next spring and has chosen “The Adventures of Ole King Cole” as its autumn pantomime.

The Society’s members are dusting off their dancing shoes and polishing up their vocal chords after the summer break in preparation for the intensive weeks of rehearsals and planning for the two shows.

Musical Society PRO Seamus Power said “Old King Cole” will be their 99th pantomime production while West Side Story will be the Society’s landmark 100th show.

The 100th musical production will be staged during a year of two special milestones for the Society - the 70th birthday of the Musical Society’s foundation and 10th anniversary of the Society’s purchase of The Strand Theatre.

A number of celebrations are being planned by the Society next year to mark both landmark occasions and will be announced over the next few months.

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