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West Side Story Jets into CRLS

VPA Puts Finishing Touches on Fall Show

Alva Fureman, Contributing Writer

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“I cannot think of a better play to do right now,” states director Monica Murray regarding CRLS’ production of West Side Story this fall. Almost 60 years after its first Broadway production, many agree that the issues addressed in the musical are still highly relevant. This November 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, and 19th, the musical that arguably changed theater forever is coming to Cambridge’s own Broadway—459 Broadway.

Arthur Laurents’ book, which the play is based on, is set in the 1950s on the Upper West Side of New York City. It is a story about the rivalry between two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The musical is a modern version of Romeo and Juliet, as the protagonists Tony and Maria (the sister of another gang leader) fall in love with each other.

The ethnic tensions between the white gang, the “Jets,” and the newly-arrived Puerto Rican gang, the “Sharks,” prove to be a major conflict in the play. Junior Micaela Leon Perdomo,  who is playing Maria, believes that the play “shows the conflict between being an immigrant and being proud of your culture and at the same time being American,” which is something that she thinks many students at CRLS can probably relate to.

Music is a big part of West Side Story, and the play is famous for songs such as “Somewhere” and “I Feel Pretty.” The play’s musical director at CRLS, Eytan Wurman, explains that the music helps to show conflict in the play. With pieces that mix Latin and American music, Mr. Wurman believes “the music itself reflects the conflict in the story.”

The cast of West Side Story has been rehearsing all fall for their November show.

Making a production of this caliber and scale takes a lot of time and hard work. The 46 students involved in the musical have been rehearsing tirelessly since early September. Sophomore Alma Kent expresses, “Even though it is tiring, it is energetic.” The rehearsals take place after school, usually three or four times a week. Even though it takes dedication and hard work, Kent is enjoying the whole experience and says it is “cool to see how much talent people you pass in the hallways have.”

Considering the impact that Hurricane Maria recently had on Puerto Rico, the cast members of West Side Story have decided to use the show to raise money for Hurricane Maria victims. The West Side Story drama company and CRLS Improv Club will collect funds at the show as well as online. Come November, members of the CRLS community will be able to enjoy a night full of excellent music and theater while also helping to support those in need.

Tickets for the musical are for sale online at vpa.cpsd.us and at lunch as of October 26th. Since the shows have reserved seating for the first time this year, the VPA recommends getting your tickets as soon as possible.

This piece also appears in our October print edition.

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The Student Newspaper of Cambridge Rindge and Latin
West Side Story Jets into CRLS