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How the Philadelphia Orchestra is assisting with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

There’s a “West Side Story” connection.

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From The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra, in partnership with The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and local community-based cultural organization Taller Puertorriqueño working as part of Unidos PA’PR, has announced a fundraising initiative during this week’s performances of West Side Story in Concert led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Verizon Hall (Oct. 12-15) to assist with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

In light of the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria and the closely linked subject matter of the performance, collections will be accepted in the lobby of The Kimmel Center to be distributed through Unidos PA’PR––a coalition of community organizations formed to raise funds for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. The performances also will serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing relevancy of Bernstein’s work and the continued need for unity, embracing Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory, and awareness of economic conditions in the area.

“We invite everyone to join us for the poignancy of West Side Story, particularly during this Bernstein centenary, and to take part in our efforts to help those in need in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria’s devastation,” said Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “West Side Story remains incredibly powerful, speaking to societal and economic issues that are still part of our national dialogue 60 years later. These performances will turn the spotlight on our ongoing need for unity, as told in this historic and meaningful work, offered at a historic and meaningful moment for our country.”

“The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is proud to partner with the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, in helping Puerto Rico rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” said Anne Ewers, President & CEO of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “These West Side Story performances are a perfect reminder of the importance of collaboration, especially in a time of crisis, and that together we can make a difference for our friends in need.”

The Kimmel Center is excited to extend the partnership with Taller Puertorriqueño through November’s La Noche, a new free Latino Music Series.

Those attending performances can donate cash or by check (made out to “Concilio/UNIDOS PA’PR”) in the lobby of The Kimmel Center before and after performances, as well as during intermission. Those not attending but interested in contributing can donate online, by text (text “Donate” to 1.833.215.7277), or by sending checks payable to “Concilio/UNIDOS PA’PR” to 141 East Hunting Park Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19124.

Contributions will be donated through various reputable organizations, including the Salvation Army and American Red Cross to aid their ongoing efforts in various areas to help those in crisis in Puerto Rico and the surrounding area. More information on how to donate is available on Taller Puertorriqueño’s website.

The Philadelphia Orchestra also has released the full cast listing for the performances of West Side Story in Concertled by Grammy-winning opera star Isabel Leonard as Maria and Drama Desk nominee bari-tenor Ryan Silverman as Tony. The cast includes several returning artists from the Orchestra’s 2015 presentation of Bernstein’s MASSalso led by Nézet-Séguin. A full cast listing can be found below.

More information about the program and tickets can be found at the Orchestra’s website.

Performance schedule:

  • Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 13 at 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.
  • Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.