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Something's Coming: KEDM Director's Gala

Update 12:52 p.m. March 27: Call 342-5575 for tickets, since online tickets are sold out. There may be a few left at the door beginning Saturday at 4:30.

Get your tickets now for a musical evening of star-crossed lovers and the city streets leading to them!

The KEDM Director's Gala for West Side Story is Saturday, March 28, beginning  at 5 p.m in the University of Louisiana at Monroe Sculpture Garden. Then at 7:30, the curtain goes up on one of Broadway's most dramatic stage presentations.

This award-winning musical is set in 1950’s New York City, as bitter tensions between rival street gangs threaten to tear apart their neighborhood somewhere in the West Side. The production delivers a fresh approach through the creative mind of Director and Choreographer Robin Stephens.

The cast will join Stephens and Musical Director Deborah Chandler to meet and mingle with guests for pictures and an up close look at the costume designs by Margaret Hall. The lively evening also features jazz trio The Sensible Things, consisting of ULM students.

Stuart Scalia will transform the ULM Sculpture Garden into a New York City backyard party before the Saturday performance at 7:30 p.m.

Gala guests will enjoy exotic Puerto Rican cuisine that includes Arroz con pollo (Chicken with rice), Asopao (hearty gumbo), and Rincon (fish tacos). Area caterers and restaurants will prepare appetizers and main dishes including Cilantro Café, Chef Eric Johnson, and Avocado’s.

Each year the theme inspired signature drink is a party favorite. Chip Strode will prepare on site his pina colada recipe! Marsala Beverage Company and Choice Brands will provide a variety of beer and wine.

Desserts include toasted coconut cupcakes, Key Lime cupcakes, coconut macaroons and more. These sweets are generously provided by local favorites including iDream Cake, Soups and Salads, and Fiesta Nutrition Center.

“West Side Story opened on Broadway close to 60 years ago and still has a message and relevance to today's generation,” said Stephens. “Our multicultural student cast gets it. We are stronger together than we are separately. It’s such a joy to see them go at it dramatically as Sharks and Jets in the play and then join hands in support of each other off the stage.”

Derle Long, director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at ULM, said the cast and crew are hard at work on the action, the songs, the scenery, and the costumes to ensure that West Side Story continues in the exciting tradition of ULM Musical Theater.

“West Side Story is one of the iconic works in the history of Broadway,” said Long. “It’s a contemporary look at the story of Romeo and Juliet, a forbidden romance that happened despite obstacles, and a tragic story of lovers from two different worlds.”

Tickets to the KEDM Director’s Gala are $45, and include preferred seating for Saturday’s performance. Call 342-5556.

Performances are March 26-28 at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday’s Gala beginning at 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 29, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at or at the box office at 318-342-1414.

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