THE romance and drama of one of the most enduringly popular musicals opened in Southampton on Tuesday.

International hit West Side Story is at The Mayflower as part of a national tour, with Katie Hall and Louis Maskell leading the cast as star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony.

Hall was most recently seen as Christine in the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera and was a contestant on BBC1 show I’d Do Anything. Maskell has appeared in the national tour of Scrooge – The Musical and Iolanthe at Wilton’s Music Hall.

The production features the entire original Jerome Robbins choreography and includes unforgettable songs such as Maria, Tonight, Somewhere, America and I Feel Pretty.

West Side Story, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, opened on Broadway in 1957 and remains one of the most successful stage shows of all time.

The 1961 film version won ten Academy Awards.

This production is directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely, a former assistant to Jerome Robbins who has worked extensively on Broadway.

West Side Story is at The Mayflower, Southampton, until Saturday, May 3. Tickets and information at, or call 02380 711811.