• West Side Stories: Carole D’ Andrea (Velma)

    By Dr. Alan Carlos Hernandez on April 15, 2012

    HOLLYWOOD (Herald de Paris) — Carole D’ Andreas played Jet “Velma” in the West Side Story film. Her impressive career has spanned all phases of the entertainment industry. She began dancing at the age of four, and was a seasoned Broadway performer by the age of nineteen, having been cast as the original “Velma” in both the Broadway and film productions of West Side Story, as well as Gypsy.

    As a performing artist, Ms. D’Andrea has appeared before many heads of state and has been featured on many television specials and sitcoms. She has directed several plays and musicals off-Broadway, as well as many shows in regional theaters throughout the United States. Directing credits include Company, Guys and Dolls, and Damn Yankees.

    Sharing her vast experiences through teaching is merely a natural step in her far-reaching career. She has taught thousands of serious performers in stage and film at New York City’s illustrious Carnegie Hall. Ms. D’Andrea has also emerged as a highly sought-after international coach for actors in England, Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Australia.

    Ms. D’Andrea currently offers “Acting and Singing Performance” classes, as well as private coaching sessions, at Hollywood’s Flight Theatre in the Complex.  The prestigious book The Actors Guide To Qualified Coaches: Los Angeles names Carole D’ Andrea among LA’s top thirty most qualified acting coaches.

    Ms. D’Andrea’s life and body of work were recently preserved in a BBC documentary production.

    Carole reminisced about her life and times as a West Side Story Jet:

    “I started dance at age 4. At 17 I left my small town for New York City and two years later got my first Broadway show, West Side Story, creating the role of Velma of the Jets. I was fortunate to be cast in film to recreate Velma, much of which was shot it Los Angeles. During the film premiere in New York, I was sitting in the theater, seven months pregnant with my first daughter, and thinking that when she (and eventually two other daughters) will grow up will see their momma. And now my five grandchildren are watching it. It took my breath away – the brilliance of Jerry Robbins’ dream now on screen for all to see! A classic.

    “Stephanie Powers was signed for the production. They didn’t realize I had created Velma in the original production on Broadway and the producer couldn’t find out where I was to recreate the role for film. I had been in the Far East doing a dance tour, so Jerry cast Stephanie as Velma. When they found me on my return to New York, Jerry said, ‘Come to California immediately. I want you to play Anybodie (understudied on Broadway). If I can convince Robert Wise, you will do the Velma part for the West Side Story film.”

    In doing Our Story: Jets & Sharks – Then and Now she mused, “The best part of the book is seeing how each of us featured dancers came from such diverse paths and ended up in this classic award winning film. It’s very moving.”

    Regarding the dance competition shows currently on TV she said, “I love that TV is giving so many dancers a venue to shine and show the audience what a strong, amazing commitment it is to be a dancer.”

    “My legacy?” she sais, “Follow your passion. Never give up and thank God for all the blessings and opportunities.”

    Carole D’Andrea’s website is: WWW.CAROLEDANDREA.COM


    Comments
    dave November 29, 2013

    what an awesome person…..makes the world a better place…

    Sandy Pister August 22, 2014

    I’ve seeb “WSS” at least sixty times. My favorite movie of all time. Thank you for such an amazing performance.

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