What’s the Story with West Side Story?


Iyanna Louis

The cast gathers around the piano during a recent rehearsal

Harris Jacques , Layout and Design Editor

This year’s school musical is one of the most well known and popular musicals of all time, West Side Story. This classic was written in 1957 and focuses on prejudice, love, and how things don’t always turn out the way you want them to be. The musical takes inspiration from Romeo and Juliet, a famous play written by William Shakespeare, and discusses some very heavy topics such as racism, sexism, and gang violence.

Aaron Cullity, who plays Riff, states, “I like the idea that we are doing a show like West Side Story. We’ve always gone with safer shows in the past but doing something riskier and more challenging will be fun.” The musical also features a very diverse character list, which opens up a multitude of opportunities for people of all backgrounds. The audition dates for the musical were December 16th. 

Just before Christmas Break, the cast list detailing the parts students were going to play was released. The leads of the musical are Maria, Tony, Anita, Riff, and Bernardo, played by Carrietta Jacques, Joseph McLaughlin, Dalice Rodriguez, Aaron Cullity, and Ahmad Paul. All of the characters featured in the musical take inspiration from those of Romeo and Juliet. For example, Maria parallels Juliet, Tony parallels Romeo, Anita parallels the Nurse, Riff parallels Mercutio, and Bernardo parallels Tybalt. 

With a show as intense as West Side Story, there will be many obstacles for the cast to overcome. Carrietta Jacques (Maria) states that, “The biggest challenge for me, personally, would probably be the more dramatic scenes. It’s going to be hard to convey such complex emotions in a realistic and heartfelt manner.”

Joseph McLaughlin (Tony) also says,  “My biggest challenge in this year’s production is probably going to be learning all of the songs and lines while expressing the character the whole time. However, the challenges do excite me and they are pushing me to do my best.”

West Side Story is a show that will be a refreshing sight to see in the Holbrook music department and will allow students to experience one of the greatest shows ever written. The show will be testing students performing in different ways, allowing them to really display their abilities and how wonderful their performances can be.

The cast of West Side Story
The cast rehearses music for West Side Story