This is a relaxed performance. Guests are allowed to come and go from their seats and venue lights will remain on at low levels. Some lighting or sound features of the show may also be adjusted minimally.
This is an audio described performance for those with vision impairments. Audio-described bookings can only be made through Opera Australia by calling the Box Office in Sydney on 02 9318 8200, Melbourne on 03 9685 3700 or by emailing email@example.com.
This is a closed captioned performance. Simply download the GoTheatrical app to access live captions on your mobile or tablet device. Captioning will be accessible via the app from any seat in the grandstand, so there is no need to choose a seat in any particular designated area of the theatre.
For the first time, we’re proud to present a musical at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour — West Side Story.
Tonight, tonight the world is wild and bright. Going mad, shooting sparks into space!
West Side Story exploded onto Broadway in a sensational storm of exuberant dance and wistful romance.
In 2019, the landmark musical takes the iconic stage at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, with famous songs including ‘Tonight, ‘I Feel Pretty’ and ‘America’ ringing out into the balmy night air.
Featuring fireworks every night and a pop-up venue with comfortable grandstand seating, West Side Story on Sydney Harbour will be a night to remember.
Raise a glass as the sun sets and drink in the view as you share a meal in one of the five bars and restaurants on site. Then sit back to enjoy the enthralling show, complete with live orchestra hidden beneath the dramatic stage and state-of-the-art sound design so you’ll hear every note.
Encounter the wildness of youth and ecstasy of love as this modern day Romeo and Juliet unfolds under a starlit sky. On the mean streets of New York's West Side, two rival gangs strut their stuff. But when a Jet falls for a Shark, the stage is set for a rumble.
An all-singing, all-dancing supporting cast takes on Leonard Bernstein’s legendary score, Jerome Robbins’ original electrifying choreography, Arthur Laurents’ powerful book and Stephen Sondheim’s memorable lyrics.
As the star-crossed lovers, homegrown stars Alexander Lewis and Julie Lea Goodwin reprise the sizzling chemistry of their performances together in The Merry Widow and The Phantom of the Opera.
Renowned director Francesca Zambello teams up with Brian Thomson and Jennifer Irwin to create a new production for the harbour stage.
From the award-winning toilets through to the spectacular stage, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour “ticks every box imaginable for a Great Night Out” (Time Out).
Travel Associates Platinum
Make your evening extra special — drink and dine at the Travel Associates Platinum Club: an undercover pop-up restaurant and bar with spectacular views overlooking Sydney Harbour. See the menus and more information.
Travelling to West Side Story on Sydney Harbour?
Located a short stroll from the harbour stage, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth invites you to experience true luxury and enjoy up to 15% off* your next stay. Find out more.
*Offer available for stay dates from 22 March – 21 April 2019. Subject to availability and conditions apply. Rates only applicable to days specified by quoiting promotion code WEST SIDE STORY.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: the experience
Watch the trailer for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour
Listen to 'Tonight' from West Side Story
See the painted subway cars for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour
See the costume sketches for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour
Please note: this production contains strong language and adult themes; not recommended for children under the age of 12.
Running time: approximately 2 hours & 30 minutes, including one interval.
Performed in English.
Are you looking for West Side Story at Sydney Opera House?
Originally produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince.
By arrangement with Roger L. Stevens.
Licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia).
All performance materials supplied by Hal Leonard Australia.
Strategic and Government Sponsor
Opera Australia Government Partner
"There is nothing in the world like Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour"
— Broadway World
"Arguably the greatest ever Broadway musical on, arguably, the greatest ever stage"
— Channel 9
Location and time
Upper West Side, New York, 1950s, during the last days of summer.
The fully-danced prologue shows the tension built up between the jets and the Sharks- two rival gangs in New York’s Upper West Side. The Jets are boys who were born in America, but have Polish roots. The Sharks are Puerto Ricans who have immigrated to the US and are unwanted intruders.
Riff, the leader of the Jets, swears that he will chase the Sharks from “their” territory. Riff informs his gang that he will challenge Bernardo, the Sharks’ leader, to a fight for dominance at a dance taking place that evening. (When You’re a Jet)
Riff asks Tony, his best friend and co-founder of the Jets, to help him. Tony, who works at Doc’s drugstore, agrees to help even though he feels he has grown out of the gang and dreams of a better future. (Something’s Coming)
Maria works with her friend Anita at a bridal shop. Anita, Bernardo’s girlfriend, is sewing a dress for Maria to wear to the evening’s dance. Maria, who has only recently come to New York from Puerto Rico, sees this dance as the beginning of her life in America. She, like Tony, is full of hope. Her brother, Bernardo, comes in with Chino. Bernardo has chosen Chino as a husband for Maria.
In the tense atmosphere between the gangs at the gym dance, Tony and Maria meet for the first time. It is love at first sight. Bernardo notices this, angrily tears the two dancers apart and makes it perfectly clear that they belong to enemy camps. Bernardo tells Chino to take Maria home. Bernardo and Riff hold a council of war at Doc’s drugstore to negotiate the conditions of the fight that will decide everything.
After Tony finds Maria’s parents’ apartment without being noticed, he calls to her and she comes to the window. (Maria)
While he sings, Maria appears on the fire escape. They promise to love each other forever and plan to meet in the bridal shop the next day. (Tonight)
Anita and her friends meet on a rooftop where they exchange conflicting views of their lives in New York. (America)
The Sharks meet with the Jets. Tony suggests a fair fight without any weapons between the two best fighters from each group. Doc tries to persuade the jets not to get involved in a street fight. (Cool)
Next day, 5:30 pm
Maria finds out about the fight from Anita. When Tony comes to the shop as planned, Anita leaves the lovers alone. Maria begs Tony to stop the fight. He promises that he will. Alone between the bridal gowns, Tony and Maria enact their imaginary wedding. (One Hand, One Heart)
6:00 to 9:00 pm
Everyone is preparing for the fight that night. (Reprise of Tonight)
The Jets and the Sharks meet under a highway underpass in Manhattan. Tony shows up and makes a futile attempt to mediate at the last minute. The planned fist fight between Bernardo and Diesel degenerates into a battle with everyone fighting everyone, during which Bernardo stabs Riff. Tony, enraged over the death of his friend, kills Bernardo. Everyone barely manages to escape the police.
Maria is with her friends and is getting ready for her date with Tony. (I Feel Pretty)
Chino suddenly bursts into her room and tells her about the horrible result of the fight. Maria, alone again, prays. Tony climbs through her window, tries to explain what happened and begs her to forgive him. He says he will turn himself into the police. Maria forgives Tony and begs him to stay with her. The lovers sing about their desire to find a place where they could live peacefully without prejudice. (Somewhere)
In a small alley, Krupke the policeman questions the Jets about the murders. The gang makes jokes about him and the police. (Gee, Officer Krupke)
Anybodys, a girl who has wanted to be taken into the gang for a long time, reports that Chino has told the Sharks everything about Tony and Maria and has sworn to kill Tony. The Jets go to look for Tony.
When Anita comes to see Maria, Tony leaves through the window. He agrees to meet with Maria at Doc’s drugstore so they can escape together. Anita finds out Tony has been with Maria and accuses her of still being in love with her brother’s murderer. (A Boy Like That)
Maria admits to her friend that she still loves Tony. Then Anita understands that Maria loves Tony as much as she loved Bernardo. (I Have a Love)
Anita warns Maria that Chino has a weapon and plans to kill Tony. When Schrank, the police lieutenant, comes to question Maria, she asks Anita to go to the drugstore to warn Tony.
The Jets keep Anita from seeing Tony, who is hiding in the basement. The malicious tirade against Anita gets out of control and the Jets rape her. Doc rescues her. Humiliated and full of hate, she gives them a false message, asking Doc to tell Tony that Chino has killed Maria.
Doc gives Tony the awful news.
Wild with pain, Tony wanders through the streets looking for Chino. He suddenly sees Maria as she comes to Doc’s drugstore as planned, and rushes towards her. At this moment, Chino appears and shoots Tony from behind.
The Jets and Sharks come over as Maria kneels over Tony’s body. Maria takes Chino’s weapon but cannot take her own life. Despite her despair and rage, she is in control of herself and makes an ardent appeal to both gangs against the senselessness of fighting and murder. The Sharks and Jets carry Tony’s dead body off the stage together as if in procession – a gesture of hope for reconciliation.
Mrs Macquaries Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend avoiding this road by catching public transport or parking in surrounding car parks and then catching our free shuttle bus. Or, be delivered right to the Point in style by catching a water taxi.
When walking from the train/bus remember that access to the venue via the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is only possible prior to 6pm. After this time, the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is closed from all entrances and not possible to walk through.
The nearest train stations are:
St James: approximately a 16-minute walk* (1.3 km)
Martin Place: approximately an 18-minute walk* (1.5 km)
Circular Quay: approximately a 29-minute walk* (2.3 km)
*These linked maps and estimated walk times use routes outside of The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. If you're walking before the Garden gates close (prior to 6.30pm in March and 6pm in April), using a route through the Garden will save time.
Bus route 200 stops on Macquarie Street. View the timetable.
All schedules, times and dates can be viewed at the transportnsw.info.
The Domain Car
Park is the closest car park. The car park will be open until 1am during
the performance season. A free shuttle bus is available to guests who
park in the Domain Car Park (see details below). Parking spots for those with disability
parking permits are located at the northern end of the ground floor.
There is metered parking along Mrs Macquaries Road, Hospital Road and Macquarie Street. Meters accept cash, credit card or payment by mobile phone.
Art Gallery Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend arranging an alternative drop off/meeting point.
The pre-performance shuttle service starts at 4:30pm and runs on a loop from the
Domain Car Park (departing from Sir John Young Crescent on the ground floor) to the
venue entrance on Mrs Macquaries Road. The shuttle ride takes approximately 5 minutes,
depending on traffic.
The post-performance shuttle service starts from 8:45pm and runs until midnight, or until the last patron has left, and stops at both the Art Gallery of NSW and the Domain Car Park.
The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour shuttle bus departs from the ground floor of the Domain Car Park and is wheelchair accessible.
Water taxis run a special service during the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour performance season.
Water taxis will depart regularly from Man O'War Jetty (next to Sydney Opera House) from 4.30pm until 7.30pm* and drop off at The Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, which is a 3 minute walk to the venue. View the timetable.
After the performance, taxis will recommence for the return trip and make an additional drop-off stop only at Circular Quay. Tickets are $10 each way.
* This is a latecomers service and will get you to the opera AFTER the start of the performance. Note that patrons arriving late will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance. This break may not be until interval. Patrons who are late may not be seated in their allocated seat.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is an open-air and all-weather event
The venue, audience seating, and the stage are completely uncovered. The event is an all-weather experience and Opera Australia is committed to going ahead with a performance of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour even in doubtful or unfavourable weather conditions. Please come prepared so that you are as comfortable as possible, and ready to support the performers, who will carry on singing in the rain.
Bring warm and waterproof clothing
Sydney weather is full of surprises so we recommend that you dress with this in mind and bring warm, weatherproof clothing. Please note that although umbrellas can be brought to the venue, out of consideration for other members of the audience they cannot be used during the performance.
Ponchos will be available to purchase at the event for $5.00. We'll be selling the Biowear Eco Poncho. Made of corn, soy, and sunflower starches, these ponchos are biodegradable. Once disposed of, the poncho takes about a year to break down and become a protein of the ecosystem. We'll be donating any profit from the sale of ponchos to Clean Up Australia.
Performance pauses and cancellations
We will only cancel a performance during electrical storms (within 10km radius) or during times of extremely high winds and/or rain. The decision to cancel a performance is not made until 7.30pm or later and a cancellation may be called during the performance. So please plan to travel to the venue for a 7.30pm performance start time even in unfavourable weather conditions.
In some weather conditions Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour may have a delayed start time or be paused for up to 50 minutes at any point throughout the performance.
Auxiliary expenses including travel, accommodation or hospitality which you have arranged in conjunction with the performance are at your own risk and not refundable by Opera Australia.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has wheelchair locations, companion seats and level access seats available.
Wheelchair Accessible Seats
Customers requiring the wheelchair and/or companion seating should contact the Opera Australia customer service team on +61 2 9318 8200, Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. On arrival at the venue, customers requiring a wheelchair should make contact with the onsite Box Office to make arrangements for a transfer to the seating by wheelchair.
Level Access Seats
The best seats for mobility impaired audience members (who are not bound to a wheelchair) are in the first 5 rows of sections A–E. When patrons take the 'Entry to seating section A–E' their entrance will be downhill to their seats in row 1 and then up a few stairs to seats in higher rows. On their way out of the venue, the path is uphill and mobility impaired patrons should consider requesting the use of a Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour wheelchair and assistance in exiting the venue.
To extend our accessibility programs, we have designated the performance of West Side Story on Sydney Harbour on Wednesday 17 April 2019 as a relaxed performance.
This style of performance is designed to ensure young adults with disability and their families, or anyone who enjoys a relaxed environment, are able to enjoy the performance experience together. This relaxed performance will allow guests to come and go from their seats during the performance and venue lights will remain on at low levels. Some lighting or sound features of the show may also be adjusted minimally, but there are no significant differences to the production.
The performance will be audio-described, and those who wish to will be able to read captions on handheld devices. Audio-described bookings can only be made through Opera Australia by calling the Box Office in Sydney on 02 9318 8200 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is also a closed captioned performance. Simply download the GoTheatrical app to access live captions on your mobile or tablet device. Captioning will be accessible via the app from any seat in the grandstand, so there is no need to choose a seat in any particular designated area of the theatre.
A ‘Quiet Space’ will also be made available if a break from the show is needed and our staff can offer advice on other spaces if needed.
Download the 'Social Story' pdf guide with performance timings and detailed descriptions and images of the venue.
Drink and dine at the Travel Associates Platinum Club at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: an undercover restaurant and bar with spectacular views overlooking Sydney Harbour.
This is pop-up dining at its best: exclusive gourmet menus, table waiters, premium Tyrrell’s wines, and dedicated restrooms.
Celebrate a luxurious evening for two, have a memorable night out with friends or impress clients at the Travel Associates Platinum Club.
Pre-book your perfect dining experience:
PRE-PERFORMANCE DINNER $245 (from 5:30pm)
Indulge in three courses, designed and prepared by the Travel Associates Platinum Club’s award-winning chefs. Each course is matched with premium Tyrrell’s Wines.
Dinner is served from 5.30pm, so you can enjoy the sunset as you drink and dine before the show. View the full menu.
PRE-PERFORMANCE TASTING BUFFET $130 (from 6pm)
Avoid order envy and try a bit of everything from a table laden with haute cuisine, including tapenades, cheeses and expertly prepared market vegetables, classic mains and delectable desserts. Waiters are on hand to top up your glass of select Tyrrell's wines. View the full menu.
PRE-PERFORMANCE or INTERVAL DRINK VOUCHER $25
Feel like a celebrity as you waltz past the bar queues — you’re heading straight to the Travel Associates Platinum Club bar. Redeem your drink voucher for a glass of Tyrrell's wine and enjoy the spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour in the Travel Associates Platinum Club lounge. Choose Travel Associates Platinum Club access before the performance or at interval (or both!).
INTERVAL MACARON TASTING TRIO
Let the simple art of macarons take you on a journey of flavours. The macaron was invented in Italy, evolved in France and is now popular around the world. With its endless flavour options we have created the perfect trio. It starts with a light and sweet macaron and ends with a dark and smoky bite to enjoy with a glass of Tyrrell's Gewurztraminer or Bowmore 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky.
New Bookings: Simply add your dining or drinks selection to your cart after choosing your tickets to West Side Story on Sydney Harbour.
Existing Bookings: sign in to your account and go to your 'Upcoming Performances' to add pre-show dining or interval drinks, or phone our box office on 02 9318 8200.
Take a photo of your experience at #operaharbour for your chance to win the ultimate opera experience at the Sydney Opera House!
Facebook: Post your photo on Opera Australia’s page for your chance to win
Twitter & Instagram: For your chance to win, tag @operaaustralia in your photo and post to your profile with #operaharbour