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Featured, Interviews, Live Theater, Local

‘West Side Story’ Comes to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis! Interview with “Tony,” Actor Ross Lekites

February 8, 2012 /  by  
 

West Side Story National Tour Logo

West Side Story is coming to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis from February 14-26! Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, Sunday at 2pm, Sun, Feb. 19 at 7:30pm and Thursday, Feb. 23 at 1pm. The running time is 2hrs, 40 minutes and tickets range from $15 to $85. Purchase tickets at Metrotix, or visit the Fabulous Fox website for more details.

ROSS LEKITES (Tony). Tours: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Joseph…Dreamcoat (Joseph). Regional: The Full Monty (Malcolm) WVPT, Joseph…Dreamcoat (u/s Joseph) TOTS, Jesus Christ Superstar, South Pacific. Film: Walking to Maryland. B.A. Point Park University. Thanks to my family, friends, amazing Mom and beautiful Mandy for all of their love and support.

Kevin: How far are you into the National tour of West Side Story? Where are you performing right now

Ross Lekites as Tony in West Side Story National TourRoss: I joined the tour in July as the Tony understudy. I took over the role in October of this year in Dallas Texas. Currently we are on a one week layoff and I am in Grand Cayman with my girlfriend and her family. No Complaints!

Kevin: How did you end up getting the role of Tony?

Ross: I went in for the offstage Tony cover in early July and was lucky enough to get the job and even luckier to take over the role a few months later. It takes a lot of hard work to get what you want in this business but just as much luck.

Kevin: What was your reaction when you landed one of the lead roles in such a well-known show?

Ross: I think I was in shock for a few weeks. I think my mothers reaction was even better then mine, with West Side being one of her favorites of all time and her son playing Tony, she lost it!

Kevin: How does this revival of the classic musical differ from the original production?

Ross: This version is a lot grittier and true to todays world. I think every character is harder and rougher and every sense of light hearted “musical theatre” aspects that were once in the show have been taken out.

Kevin: Were you a fan of the 1961 film before getting the role? Do you draw any parts of your character from Tony in the film?

Ross: I am a huge fan of parts of the movie but not all of the movie. I didn’t watch the movie once I found out I got the job so I didn’t take anything from what he did in the movie, I thought that would be a bad idea to not fully create my “Tony” on my own.

Kevin: What are the main differences between the Broadway show and the movie?

Evy Ortiz and Ross Lekites. © Carol Rosegg 2011

Evy Ortiz and Ross Lekites. © Carol Rosegg 2011

Ross: The differences between the Broadway show and the movie are small but they pack a punch. The addition of Spanish doesn’t take over the scene or make it hard to follow the story, what it does is add to the Puerto Rican character. It gives them a greater sense of self and also empowers them. The other big thing is that our show is grittier and rougher. You forget that you are watching a musical and lose yourself in the reality of our world.

Kevin: How is this show and role different than some of the others you have been a part of?

Ross: For the most part I have been doing light musicals. These shows are fun for the actors and the audience, but none of them have the heart that this piece has. There is something so real and true about our show that you know connects with every audience member and every actor onstage. I am used to playing the optimist, but never one with so much hiding beneath the surface as Tony does. It is a wonderful feeling playing Tony every night.

Kevin: You have been a part of many musicals. Do you like to stick to the musical theater genre, or are you interested in performing in some drama and comedies in the future?

Ross: I love musicals and I really have no interest in straight theatre. The main reason I fell in love with performing in the first place was the music. I respect actors in straight theatre very much but it is not something I have the urge to do. I would love to do film and t.v. in the future though. I have done very little film but from the little time I have spent on set I love it.

Kevin: What is one of your dream roles that would make your day to get?

Ross: I would love to play Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys. The character is one that I immediately connected with when I saw the show, and like everyone else, I fell in love with the show.

Kevin: What is your favorite part of working on West Side Story?

Evy Ortiz and Ross Lekites. © Carol Rosegg 2011

Evy Ortiz and Ross Lekites. © Carol Rosegg 2011

Ross: My favorite part of working with this show is the level of talent and professionalism both onstage and backstage. I think we have the best company management in all of the biz, and one of the most talented casts I have had the pleasure to work with.

Kevin: Have you even been a part of a show at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, or ever seen a show there?

Ross:  I have not played the Fox Theatre but I am very excited. I played the Fox in Atlanta but I have heard that this one is the one to see and play. I am looking forward to the audiences that I have heard great things about as well.

Kevin: When is the tour over, and do you have plans for afterwards?

Ross: Our tour wraps up in mid August. The first thing I plan to do is spend a few weeks at my parents house on Cape Cod and just relax. I hope to set something up while out on the road or hopefully quickly after. I love to stay busy and go a little crazy if I run out of things to do. I hope to find a job in the city so I can stay near my girlfriend and friends.

Kevin: What other hobbies do you have beside from acting?

Ross: I am a big fan of food. Being on the road we get to experience the best of the best in each city. I can’t wait to see what St. Louis has to offer!

Drew Foster, Ross Lekites and German Santiago in the First National Tour of West Side Story. © Carol Rosegg 2011

Drew Foster, Ross Lekites and German Santiago in the First National Tour of West Side Story. © Carol Rosegg 2011

West Side Story is coming to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis from February 14-26! Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, Sunday at 2pm, Sun, Feb. 19 at 7:30pm and Thursday, Feb. 23 at 1pm. The running time is 2hrs, 40 minutes and tickets range from $15 to $85. Purchase tickets at Metrotix, or visit the Fabulous Fox website for more details.