Meet the cast of West Side Story (Part 2) – JOHN PAUL BATISTA as Bernardo

1. My Background
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. I am the middle child in a home full of men. (my brothers Ruben and Eric) Brought into this world by my awesome parents Ruben and Irene. I graduated with a BFA from AMDA.(American Musical and Dramatic Academy) I currently live in Los Angeles and work “on my non-performing time” as a personal trainer and health coach.

2. You have an affinity to role of Bernardo in West Side Story. What brings you to this role? What are the challenges of this role?
This will be my second time with Bernardo and it is such a great role to play. I love to bring out my inner Latin side as well as showcase my Latin ballroom skills. “Mambo!”

The challenges I find with this role are fighting every show and trying not to get injured. You have to really be aware and warmed up for the physicality in this show because it starts with a rumble and ends with a rumble. And when you’re not rumbling you’re dancing! I also always find myself apologizing to every cast member multiple times during the run because in real life I’m not that mean. 🙂

3. What are the highlights of your performance history to date?
I have been really fortunate to have some amazing credits on my resume. My favorites are being a part of GLEE as a Dalton Academy Warbler, and one of the Adams Apples from NYADA. Working on a tv set was such an awesome experience. I got to dance, sing, and act with amazing cast members while magic was being made on film was just amazing! (it was also the first time I got my own movie trailer) Another great moment for me was working with Academy Award winners Shirley Jones, and everyone’s favorite Santa from ELF, Ed Asner.

4. What do you feel the audience will learn or obtain from viewing WEST SIDE STORY?
It is such a timeless story of following your heart and going against people’s views accompanied by a fantastic score. Unfortunately, there are still many strong opinions and views by people in power that are causing our world to divide. There is a wonderful line in the show where Doc says to Action “Why do you guys make the world so lousy?” And his response is “That’s the way we found it.” So, I think people will learn that what we need more of in this world is accepting that people are different and diversity is good. Show more love and kindness to one another and our world will be a better place.

5. What is your philosophy as a performer?
I always like to remember that every performance of a show, even though it may be my seventh one for the week or second one of the day, is someone’s first time seeing it. Therefore, I put all my heart into giving my best at each performance. “No day but today” -RENT the musical

6. Any further comments?
I am so excited to spend the summer with New Bedford Festival Theatre and to work with this amazing cast and crew. A special thanks to Michael Susko, Andrew Winans, Julie @ Go 2 Talent Agency and Joe @ Meridian Management for making this all be possible. Go Sharks! #tiburones