West Side Story has landed in the capital and it's already the most successful production Opera Australia has brought to Canberra.
Playing to a near-packed house on Thursday evening's preview, the classic musical is one of the biggest productions on the Canberra Theatre Centre's 2019 program.
For Chloe Zuel - who plays Anita in the Opera Australia production - it's also a dream come true.
"It's not often that you get to do a show like this, of this calibre and with this kind of music and choreography," she said.
"A lot of the time it's newer musicals or they are ones which aren't as written as well - in my opinion - but it feels really special to be part of a classic story, part of a legacy.
"Everyone knows West Side Story and I love that. It's a really cool thing to be part of something that has been going for so long."
Hailed as the greatest Broadway musical of all time, West Side Story is the modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
It tells the love story of two young people (Tony, played by Todd Jacobsson, and Maria, played by Sophie Salvesani) whose happiness is destroyed by the hate of two enemy camps in New York City.
Zuel's character is the friend and confidante of Maria, as well as her brother's girlfriend.
This production also has all of Jerome Robbins' original choreography from 1957. It comes at a time when Broadway is doing a West Side Story revival with new choreography.
"I think this choreography is one of my favourite things about the show. It's so ballet-based which I find impressive because I'm not a ballet dancer," Zuel said.
"When we were doing the audition, I just kept thinking, whether I get this role or not, I am so glad that I got to learn this iconic choreography.
"Before I start my variation as Anita, I get this thrill that runs through my body where I think 'Oh my God I'm dancing this choreography that so many amazing people before me have danced'. People like Rita Moreno and Chita [Rivera] and, my favourite, Debbie Allen."
- West Side Story runs at the Canberra Theatre Centre until October 27. Tickets from canberratheatrecentre.com.au.