by Dennis Dalman
Two St. Joseph high-school aged students, both home-schooled, have roles in the current production of West Side Story at the Paramount Theatre in downtown St. Cloud.
The show is a production of GREAT Theatre.
Maria and Luke Reber both play teenage members of the “Sharks” gang in the musical play. The Rebers have been in many GREAT Theatre productions throughout the years.
West Side Story, which opened April 28, will run for two more weekends: May 4-6 and May 11-13. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are available by calling the Paramount box office at 259-5463 or by visiting the Great Theater website at www.GreatTheatre.org
The show, directed by Dennis Whipple, has a cast of 34.
Long considered to be one of the landmarks of American theater, West Side Story opened on Broadway in New York City in 1957 to rapturous acclaim. Based on Shakespeare’s tragic play, “Romeo and Juliet,” West Side Story tells the ill-fated story of a romance between teenagers Tony and Maria in the mean streets of New York City, rife with teen-gang disputes. The musical explores the themes of urban alienation, prejudice, hatred, violence and the redemptive power of love.
The play’s famous musical numbers were written by Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The songs include such crowd-pleasers as “Tonight,” “Somewhere,” “Maria,” “America,” “One Hand One Heart” and “I Feel Pretty.”
A movie version of the musical opened in 1961, starring Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood in the two lead roles. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10 of them, including the Best Picture Oscar and best-supporting honors for Rita Moreno and George Chakiris.