RAHWAY — The Arts Department of Rahway High School is intensely at work preparing for the annual spring musical, “West Side Story”, to be presented this weekend at the high school auditorium. Evening performances on Friday and Saturday are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s matinee is at 2 p.m.
This modern-day Romeo and Juliet musical explores the rivalry between two teenage gangs, where a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of the leader of the other gang. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim wrote the music, including the familiar “Tonight,” Somewhere” and “One Hand, One Heart.”
Dancers and actors are working hard, knowing their predecessors won four Papermill Playhouse Rising Star Awards in 2009 for Will Rogers Follies. Alison Dooley, dance teacher/director, works hard to inspire her students to excellence, while musical director/band leader, Robert VanWyk is busy preparing the orchestra for accompaniment, and set designer/art teacher JoAnne Campanelli must complete her work before the performance begins.
From Dooley’s playbill notes, we learn that “our Rahway High School diverse school population has allowed for authentic Latin casting of the Sharks and a sincere understanding of the triumph of spirit over the obstacles often faced by immigrants. To depict the rebellion from authority that is expressed by both the Shark and Jet characters, the few adult characters in the show have been cast with adult actors…
“As our multi-racial cast takes to the stage for their final bow of ‘West Side Story’, they will be hand in hand and forever changed for what they have experienced as part of this cast. They have spent endless hours together learning performance material, rehearsing, fundraising, selling ads, painting the set, and rehearsing some more. They together have worked hard and have learned much about their characters, their peers and themselves.”
Tickets are available for $12 for adults and $8 for students with ID. Calling 1-732-396-1100 for more information.
The cast of West Side Story who will perform at Rahway High School March 25-27. (Photo courtesy of Rahway High School)
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