Stories & Cast Interviews
Brandon Contreras as Bernardo
Brandon Contreras (c) plays Bernardo in our Production of West Side Story!
I'm a native New Yorker! I was born and raised for a bit on the upper west side! My parents relocated to Jackson, NJ in my teenage years. So, I consider NJ a big part or my home/upbringing as well! I'm a New Yorker and a Jersey Boy
My sister Influenced me to pursue theater. My aunt taught us how to sing when we were young from Disney movies. And my sister started doing theater first. I always sang in choir and did some shows, but it wasn't until I saw my sister in the role of Tuptim in The King and I, that I realized I wanted to tell stories and share them with an audience.
West Side Story is actually my Dad's favorite musical/movie, so, I was introduced to it at a very young age. Also, the fact that Puerto Ricans had a substantial role in the musical and film, was significant. It was a big eye opener for me on learning about who I was. It shed light on the history of what my grandparents came here to do and how they assimilated. I have never done the show before and I'm so grateful that I am finally performing one of my dream roles.
I think stage musicals made into films are fantastic, even if they're changed a bit for the screen (as long as the same message is clear). Through these movie musicals, we are able to introduce such a rich culture to people who, otherwise, may not have the means or the opportunity to experience. Music and the arts change lives and if we're able to capture that on film and distribute it around the world, then how exciting is that?!
Some of my favorite shows include, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Fun Home, The Light in the Piazza, In the Heights, and the upcoming Hamilton.
My dream role would definitely have to be Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza. It's always been a dream of mine. Especially after seeing it with Aaron Lazar! That role and its arc are a dream come true.
When not on stage, I love hanging out with my family. They're the greatest. I love cooking and trying new foods. I Love to read and get crafty. I'm trying to find new hobbies, such as rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulder and learning beginner violin!
Some apps that I can't live without are Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix, and Spotify (because I don't carry music on my iPhone) I love to listen to all music really, from Gavin DeGraw to JLo, Mumford and Sons to Justin Timberlake.
I Just Met a Girl Named Maria! ( aka Carly Evans)
Carly Evans is our Lovely Maria in West Side Story.. read on....
I grew up in Hershey, PA. Sweetest place on Earth! I was actually really into sports growing up. Although I loved theatre and knew I wanted to pursue it as a career I spent most of my time playing lacrosse, soccer and field hockey. I started really concentrating on theatre in high school by doing my school shows and taking voice lessons.
My mom took me to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway when I was 7. I was hooked. (I was, and still am 100% team Phantom.) Though that was what sparked my interest, I was always a performer. Right out of the womb I always craved the spotlight. I would sing and dance all the time, even when I was put in time out (my mother loved that...).
I remember seeing The movie of West Side Story first and then I actually played Maria my Junior year of High school. That was when I really fell in love with the show and the role. I had the chance to play it again right out of college at Ogunquit Playhouse. That was an incredible experience for me. I learned a lot which I really believe helped me land the role here at Westchester Broadway Theatre. I absolutely love this cast and crew. I've never had so much fun with a group of people!
I think (if done well) musicals made into films are fantastic. They give people who may not necessarily be theatre buffs a chance to experience something new. And it's definitely cheaper than going to see a Broadway show!
Oh goodness... I could go on forever about my favorite shows. And dream roles actually... BUT if I'm forced to name a few, some dream roles would be Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Clara in Light in the Piazza and I would LOVE ago play every female role in A Little Night Music. As I grow older, my goal is to hit them all.
When I'm not on stage.... I like to eat. That's it. Food always. And the occasional beer.
Music wise I'm a fan of pretty much everything. It depends on my mood. My go to artists though are James Taylor and Ed Sheeran. And of course I'm that theatre nerd that will listen to Broadway show tunes on a regular basis.