West Scranton native Theo Lencicki will be proving the old saying you can't go home again wrong this weekend.
The West Scranton High School graduate will be in town Friday through Sunday, Nov. 2 through 4, as part of the touring company of West Side Story, presented by the Broadway Theater League of NEPA, at the Scranton Cultural Center.
It's always exciting to come back to Scranton. It's great to have the opportunity, especially since I was there with ‘Hairspray' and ‘Young Frankenstein' tours. They are always welcoming with opening arms, and it's great to see the hometown crowd, said Lencicki.
Lencicki said he's also excited to be returning to the area with a production he's sure many are going to love.
Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins, West Side Story was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
Set in New York City in the mid-1950s, the musical tells the story of two rival street gangs, the Jets and Sharks, of different ethnic backgrounds, and a member of the Jets, Tony, who falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks.
At the end of the day (it's) about how love can't survive in a world with hate, said Lencicki. I don't want to spoil the ending of what happens to characters, but it's a really powerful message.
Lencicki plays Riff in the play, leader of the Jets and Tony's best friend.
Riff is parallel to Mercutio in ‘Romeo and Juliet,' who is Romeo's best friend where I am Tony's best friend, explained Lencicki. He has been orphaned by his family. He lives with Tony, so his family is his gang and everyone looks to him as the leader to make the decisions.
It's been a really great experience, and it's been a role that I've wanted to play for a while, so I'm excited to have the opportunity.
Lencicki first performed in the play in 2010 at the Gateway Playhouse in Long Island, N.Y. as a member of the Jets. He said he's happy that this time around he would be tackling the role of Riff.
I think, as far as my musical theater background, it's a great role that incorporates the acting as well as the singing, because Riff does sing two of the songs in the show… as well as the dancing, said Lencicki. So it's a very versatile role that showcases a lot.
Lencicki started showcasing what he could do Oct. 29 when the tour officially began in Elmira, N.Y. West Side Story will be on tour until June making stops in up to 80 cities. The cast will be performing in Erie on Thursday, before coming to the Scranton Cultural Center.
I think the show will remain fresh and exciting throughout the tour, but it's great that (Scranton's) one of the first stops. That they can experience it fresh out of the gate, said Lencicki. I think they're going to get a great show.
And, in addition to giving the audience a great show, being the only member of the cast from the area, he's also looking to show the cast and crew a good time while they're in town.
I'll be showing them the Electric City, laughed Lencicki.
We have five shows that weekend, so it's pretty jam-packed, but if I could hop in my car and show them West Side High School and take them over to the hot spots over in West Side, I think it would be a perfect opportunity, especially given the show we're doing.
What: ‘West Side Story'
Where: The Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave.
When: Friday through Sunday, Nov. 2 through 4
Info: 346.7369 or visit www.broadwayscranton.com.