Reuben Hoyle loves his character, Bernardo, in Blue Springs South’s production of “West Side Story.”
However, he says performing in such a well-known and iconic musical does add some pressure.
“Yes, it’s harder because the show is very difficult,” said Hoyle, a junior at South. “The music is hard, and the characters are hard to take on. But I think everyone has really been working hard to perform at their best. We are ready to perform in front of an audience.”
“West Side Story” is an American musical inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Set in a 1950s Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City, it follows the story of the rivalry between two teenage street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Most of the Sharks are Puerto Rican, while the Jets are mostly Polish-American. As in “Romeo and Juliet,” there are the two star-crossed lovers, Tony, a Jet and Maria, who is the sister of the Sharks’ leader.
The musical hit Broadway in 1957 and was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical. It went on to become a 1961 movie musical and won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
“West Side Story” is at 7 p.m. today and Saturday. There is also a 1 p.m. matinee Saturday. All performances are at Blue Springs South High School. Admission is $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
“I really enjoy the characters in this musical,” Hoyle said. “I like how the Sharks have these sassy girls, and the Jet boys are depicted as strong.”
Senior Ethan Grumke plays Riff, one of the outgoing members of the Jets who is very aggressive, but knows when he needs to hold things back to make a point. Grumke said he likes the story of “West Side Story” and believes the Blue Springs South cast is really bringing the characters to life.
“It s really good because each person is really making their character perfect,” he said. “My favorite scene is the rumble because I get to let everything out and be angry, which is always fun.”
Senior Tanner Boots plays Tony, a former member of the Jets who falls in love with Maria. Boots said he really likes the time period in which “West Side Story” is set and loves what Tony becomes during the course of the musical.
“Tony is just this guy who falls completely in love with Maria. He knows exactly who he wants,” he said. “I really think people who come to this show will see how amazing the theater program at South is. We have been working hard on the show, and I think it really helps us to go out with a bang this year.”