Venice High Theatre Revisits Classical Musical “West Side Story”

Julissa Ventureno and Esdras Melgar


Mya Gates

West Side Story Spring Musical at Venice High school

Jennifer Romo, Entertainment Editor

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the most beloved musical theater classics “West Side Story” which is famous for the tension between gang rivals Jets and Sharks was performed by the Venice High School theater department on April 20 and 21. The musical was very enjoyable and entertaining and it consisted of both laughter and tears. The play will be repeated on April 27 and 28.

A live performing orchestra sounded extremely thrilling under the supervision of musical director David Lee. While the music was exciting, the dancing performed in the production was the highlight of the show. The dancers were very upbeat, well-versed in the 1950s jazz. From watching the musical, I felt as if I was a part of the storyline since the dancers were highly connecting with the audience.

“The musical had the most diverse casting of West Side Story I have ever seen,” said Evan Holter. “It was an entertaining experience.”

In one moment, gangs are socializing with one another and the next they are fighting with each other. Next, the police is on their case and the following moment they are taking out their weapons ready for a fight.

Another highlight of the musical was the emotional chemistry between Tony (Alejandro Sanchez) and Maria ( Tiffany Lavalle) who instantly fall in love with each other. But Maria being a Shark and Tony being a Jet, know their family and friends would not approve. Especially Maria who has an arranged marriage set up with Chino (Merary Gudiel).

In some parts of Tony’s solo he went a bit off key, but when he and Maria sang together they sounded magical, which made it feel like a sparkling night that would never end. The lyrics in the songs sounded were perfect, one could just listen to them fall in love.

The whole cast reflected hours of rehearsal demonstrated by their confidence on stage. They also seemed to be having a great time.

 “This musical was a great experience, I enjoyed both the cast and crew,” said Shara Wade. “The role of Anita is the best role I have ever played. And having a great partner (Omar Cruz) made it easier to be the best Anita I can be”.

In the finale, the gangs finally find peace with each other after the tragic death of Tony. The storyline provides a positive message that love is stronger than hate.

The Oarsman gives “West Side Story” a 10 out of 10 rating. There are still two dates left on April 27 and 28, at the Mark Twain Middle School Auditorium, 2224 Walgrove Ave for those looking for  an enjoyable time.