Omaha Public Schools Present ‘West Side Story’

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July 10th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Students from many area schools are joining forces to produce some Classic musical theatre.

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WestSideStoryLogoOpening tonight at South High School is the Omaha Public School’s summer musical, “West Side Story.” Directing Leonard Bernstein’s distinctly American take on Romeo and Juliet is Benson High School drama teacher Erienne Wredt.

“And they’re taking a show that we all know, that we grew up with, that is a part of the musical theatre vernacular of America, and they are bringing it to life,” said Wredt.

She says the bulk of the work for the production is done by students.

“The cast is all students. The crew – who is moving the scenery – is all students. We do have adults leading the students, but during the show and what the audience will see is all student-driven, it’s all student work,” she said.

Wredt points out that “West Side Story” is hardly an easy musical to produce, especially for the performers.

“The musical score for it is daunting,” she said. “There’s very few characters that get to sit in their comfort zone – pretty much everybody gets pushed for this. On top of that, it’s a huge dance show. This is a show that was conceived to be all dancing, so that is a huge challenge.

Samantha Quintana is a recent Central High School graduate, is playing the role of Anita. She says that the cast and crew are up to the task.

“There’s just so many really, really talented young people,” Quintana said.

Wredt says that in rising to the challenge, the students are gaining valuable skills and experience.

“They’re learning how to do things closer to professional than they get a chance to at an individual school level, and I think that is an amazing opportunity for these kids,” she said.

Playing Riff is Ryan McCann, a sophomore at Bryan High School. He points out that there are other benefits to participating.

“Meet new people, making new friends,” he said.

Omaha Public Schools’ Summer Musical, “West Side Story” runs July 10, 11, 12. All performances are at South High School and begin at 7:30 pm. More information is available by calling (402) 557-2443.

 

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