(Posted 8:30 a.m., March 2)
Peter Players bring 'West Side Story' to life
By Fred Sherwin
St. Peter Players' production os 'West Side
Story' stars Allison O'Brien and Drew Plummer
in the lead roles of Maria and Tony. Fred
Side Story" is one of them most iconic Broadway productions
of all time, and it features some of the most iconic songs
of all time including "Maria", "America",
"Somewhere" and "Tonight".
up on last year's Canadian high school premiere of "Phantom
of the Opera", the St. Peter Players decided to bring
the quintessential late 50s, early 60s play to the 21st
result, judging by the opening night performance, is a
huge success thanks mainly to a talented cast led by Allison
O'Brien who plays Maria. The Grade 12 student has the
biggest voice to hit the St. Peter stage since Samantha
Mouchet played Fentine in the 2004 production of "Les
Plummer plays opposite O'Brien as Tony. While Plummer's
voice is not as strong,or as classically refined as O'Brien's,
it serves as the perfect compliment, proving once again
that St. Peter Players director Bernie Leger knows a thing
or two about casting.
Morganty and Brooke Morrice do a fine job as well as Bernardo
and Anita, and Nicole Brake's solo performance of "Somewhere"
is one of the highlights of the program.
it is O'Brien's star that shines the brightest, particularly
during her performance of "Tonight" with Plummer
and "One Heart, One Hand". Her duet with Morrice
in Act 2 is also a high point.
from the singing, the biggest challenge in trying to pull-off
a high school production of "West Side Story"
is the choreography, which is why many amateur theatre
groups shy away from the ambitious play. Not so the St.
Peter Players, they tackle the choreography with the same
gusto that the Jets take on the Sharks in a street fight.
anyone born after 1980 who has never seen "West Side
Story", it is essentially a 20th century version
of "Romeo and Juliet" set in 1959. Tony and
Maria are the main characters. He's Polish and she's Puerto
Rican, two ethnic communities trying to find their place
in the boiling melting pot of New York City.
brother Bernardo is the leader of the Sharks, while Tony's
best friend Riff is the leader of the Jets.
rival gangs agree to rumble to decide which of them will
be the dominant gang in the neighbourhood.
to the fight, they square off at a school dance where
Tony and Maria meet for the first time, In an example
of love at first sight they try to share a first kiss,
but Bernardo tears them apart and sends Maria home.
that night, Tony meets Maria on her parents balcony and
they profess their love for each other during the duet
"Tonight". In the following scene, the Puerto
Rican girls discuss the differences between living in
the U.S. and their native Puerto Rico during the song
next day Tony meets Maria at the bridal shop where she
works with Bernardo`s girlfriend Anita. They sing about
getting married and Maria makes Tony promise to stop the
the two groups meet under the highway they first agree
to fists only fight between Bernardo and Diesel, who`s
a member of the Jets. The altercation quickly deteriorates,
however, and before long Bernardo is locked in a knife
fight with Riff.
Riff gains the upper hand as is about to stab Bernardo,
Tony quickly steps in and holds him back. Bernardo then
seizes the moment and stabs Riff, killing him. In a fit
of rage Tony picks up Riff`s knife and kills Bernardo.
The first act ends with the two gangs scattering off stage
leaving Tony alone to ponder what has just happened while
approaching sirens can be heard off in the distance.
first act isn't nearly as good as the second act which
is tension filled from beginning to end, Maria forgives
Tony for killing her brother and the two decide to run
away together, unless the police or members of the Sharks
catch him first.
acting in the St. Peter Players production of West Side
Story is superb, the singing is excellent and the choreography
is top notch. But what transpires on the stage is only
half the show. The production is blessed with an unbelievable
student orchestra led by Lisa Concessi-MacLean.
percussion section made up of Lisa Bebyck, Mike Heney
and Jason Sinkus deserve special mention for delivering
a dizzying array of special effects.
Side Story" continues until March 3. Curtain time
is 7 p.m. and admission is $10 per person. St. Peter High
School is located at 750 Charlemagne Blvd. in Fallingbrook.
Side Story' features some of the most iconic
songs on Broadway including 'Amercia', 'Somehwere'
and 'Maria'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
cast if the St. Peter Players production of
'West Side Story' perform the nightmare scene
in Act 2 of the play. Fred Sherwin/Photo
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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