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Lyric Opera of Chicago to hold ensemble auditions for dancer/singer/actors for Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story on January 28 and 29, 2019

December 18, 2018
January 21, 2019

Lyric Opera of Chicago will hold auditions for dancer/singer/actors for the 2018-19 Season production of Leonard Bernstein’s musical theater masterpiece West Side Story. Directed by Francesca Zambello, this new co-production is shared by Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the Glimmerglass Festival. James Lowe is the conductor and the original Jerome Robbins’ choreography will be recreated by Julio MongeEric Sean Fogel is the associate director. The production design is contemporary, with sets by Peter J. Davison, costumes by Jessica Jahn and lighting by Mark McCullough.

Weekly rates for ensemble performers are subject to the collective bargaining agreement with the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and are set at $1,176.50/week in the 2018-19 Season. The rehearsal and performance period for West Side Story is Monday, April 8 through Sunday, June 2, 2019. There is the possibility of a short one-week extension of the performance period through Sunday, June 9, 2019. Ensemble members may also be cast as understudies for some principal and small, named roles.

Lyric is now accepting submissions from current members of AGMA and Actors’ Equity Association, as well as Non-Union and EMC artists. All dancer/singer/actors seen at the preliminary union calls must belong to AGMA or AEA (Equity Membership Candidates will be seen at the non-union calls).


Specifically seeking young, energetic artists to play teenaged members of the Jets and Sharks gangs, and their girlfriends. Must be advanced-level dancers with strong ballet and jazz technique, as well as strong singers. All ethnicities welcome, artists of color strongly encouraged.

For dance calls, men should bring sneakers and knee pads, and women should bring heels and flats and (if possible) a rehearsal skirt. Please arrive warmed up and ready to dance.

Artists should prepare an entire song of their choosing from classic musical theater or the Great American Songbook, and also prepare a 16-32 bar cut of that same song. Bring sheet music in the correct key; an accompanist will be provided. Come prepared to sing; there will not be space for you to warm up.

The schedule for auditions is as follows:

Monday, January 28, 2019

AGMA/AEA           Men - Preliminary Dance Auditions
                                     10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Audition  (Check-in at 9:15 a.m.)

Non-Union/          Men - Preliminary Dance Auditions
                          12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Audition  (Check-in at 11:15 a.m).

Non-Union/          Women - Preliminary Dance Auditions
                           4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Audition  (Check-in at 3:15 p.m.)

AGMA/AEA,          Men  - Preliminary Singing Auditions
followed by            
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Audition

AGMA/AEA,          Women  - Preliminary Singing Auditions
followed by           
6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Audition

Check-in times for preliminary singing auditions will be assigned after the dance call.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 

Callbacks – Men and Women
Sing and Read for Jets
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Audition

Callbacks – Men and Women
Dancing/reading/singing as needed for Jets/Sharks
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Audition


SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED to January 21, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. CST.


For more information about this production, and to submit for these auditions, please email your résumé and photo to choraud@lyricopera.orgplease indicate whether you belong to AGMA and/or AEA, or if you are a Non-Union or EMC artist

Auditions are by invitation only and will be awarded based on review of your complete submitted materials. They will be held at Lyric Opera of Chicago, 40 North Wacker Drive, Chicago.

Walk-ins will not be seen. 

Artists at Lyric Opera of Chicago are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists. Should you be hired for West Side Story you will be required to join this union, if you are not already a member.