NIGEL Dugdale made his stage debut in the Cecilian Musical Societyâ€™s production of Oliver a mere 21 years ago.
This November the actor returns to the award-winning local musical society to star in the Ceciliansâ€™ West Side Story, the iconic take on the classic tale of star crossed lovers, set in Manhattan.
For Dugdale - well known from roles with Limerick Musical Society, Torch and College Players and Bottom Dog Theatre Company - his return to the Ceciliansâ€™ represents something of the closing of a circle that began in 1991.
â€œSome of the old faces are still there,â€ laughs the affable tenor, who spent years travelling the world singing on cruise ships before returning to Limerick two years ago.
â€œIt is lovely to come back.â€
West Side Story is a brave choice for the popular local society, a tale of gang warfare in New York - a landmark musical that bravely addressed social issues against a backdrop of a love story between Tony and Maria - portrayed by Dugdale and Jean Wallace respectively.
With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim - masters of American musical theatre - West Side Story is one of the most popular modern musicals, yet relies on glitzy, physical dance scenes to support its weighty material.
â€œWest Side Story for me is famous for being a dance show, and the dances are key to the success of the show,â€ agrees Nigel.
â€œThe chorus we have, who are vital to making the show work in terms of choreography, are made up of a team of very good dancers. That dance element will make it stand out as an excellent show. They are an incredible group of performers.
â€œThe music is timeless - no matter how old it gets, it never gets dated,â€ he adds.
The production also marks the Ceciliansâ€™ debut in the new Lime Tree Theatre, which will allow the production its full range to show off its scope.
Tickets for West Side Story, which run from November 28 to December 1, are already showing strong sales, so early booking is recommended.
See www.limetreetheatre.ie for bookings.