Thursday, Dec 08, 2016
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Music-Theater-Dance

Perrysburg High School to perform iconic 'West Side Story'

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Perrysburg High School junior Connor Treece in the center leads the Jets teenage gang as Riff in the school's spring musical West Side Story which will be performed this weekend.

the blade/matt thompson
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The announcement at the Perrysburg High School theatre's banquet last May that this year's spring musical would be West Side Story was greeted enthusiastically.

"People started screaming with excitement," actor Connor Treece said. 

Senior Rachel Dumke said everyone went home and started practicing -- work that will come to fruition this weekend when a cast of about 50 to 60 students produces West Side Story.

The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. 

PHOTO GALLERY: See more photos from the performance

The students are excited to take their shot at one of the most famous musicals inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The musical tells of a rivalry between the Jets and Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds; its young protagonist, Tony, a Jet, falls in love with Maria, the sister of the Sharks' leader.

"You laugh, cry, and feel," junior Sara Miller said. "It is visually appealing to the eyes."

With such a familiar play, the directors and cast wanted to put on their own spin. The production will feature new LED lighting, paid for with booster-club fund-raising, that will be used to set moods on minimalist sets.

It has been 20 years since Perrysburg High School performed West Side Story. Performing such a well-known musical brings distinctive challenges, and the high school's current large group of talented boys was essential to casting the male-dominated show, director Rob Gentry said.

"It is difficult because the expectations of those who have seen it have to be met," Mr. Gentry said. "It is also nice to take it in a new direction and trying to freshen it up."

Miss Dumke said it can be an intimidating musical to do since it is so well known, but at the same time exciting to be a part of a classic. 

All seats are reserved. Tickets are $12 and available through the Perrysburg High School box office, open Monday through Thursday, 7 to 8 p.m. Students may purchase tickets for half price for opening night only by showing their identification at the box office.

"It is so well known, so iconic and appreciated, you want to do it justice," said Mr. Treece, a junior. 

The Perrysburg Theatre Boosters will hold a fund-raising dinner Friday at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at the box office.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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