West Side Story: Mainstage Classic Theatre Takes on Challenging ShowJul 06, 2015 09:27PM ● By Kevin
Arthur Laurents' book remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever. The score by Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim is widely regarded as one of the best ever written. ROMEO AND JULIET takes to the streets in this landmark Broadway musical that is one of the theatre's finest accomplishments.
"MCT is so excited to bring West Side Story to the stage!" said president and artistic director Marty Frederick. "It is regarded as one of the most difficult shows to perform and for that reason rarely produced by community theatre organizations. We have outstanding talent because actors jump at the opportunity to be part of it and we can’t wait for everyone to see our great leads and supporting actors as they sing and dance and act!"
It was a big decision for the theater's board to decide to produce West Side Story for several reasons, according to Frederick:
- Huge Dance Show - "and always difficult to get trained dancers but Beth Holland, the choreographer and assistant director is doing an absolutely outstanding job! She actually performed in a 15 week run of the show herself in years past and knows it well."
- Extremely Difficult Musically - "Dr. Scott Ferrell, music director, determined from the onset that MCT would do it correctly musically, noting that often the show is not performed exactly as written by amateur groups and challenged the talent to reach this goal. Having played the lead role of Tony at Casa before, he knows the show very well."
- Subject Matter - "Of course, it is the modern version of Romeo and Juliet, tragedy because of intolerance and lack of respect for others. It is our hope that the audience is reminded that we are all to 'love our neighbors' and act accordingly, hope is eternal, intolerance is only destructive and on and on."
- Ticket Sales - "obvious lack of kids in the show which always translates to tickets"
Frederick continued, saying the theater's goal is to bring classic theatrical works to the area, giving opportunities for the area audiences to see such a show and also for individuals in the area to use their creative talents, performing and designing.
This brings slight financial concerns to the board, Frederick said, "but this is the right thing to do!"
Financial help is needed to offer more scholarships for classes and to help move the group into a larger space to house classes, costumes, props and set pieces.
"Although we always make it and have grown, we have never gained the support of a big corporate sponsor nor received large grants," Frederick said. "It is just the wonderful group of volunteers working hard alongside a great advisory board all wanting to bring the best of theatre to the area."
A former drama teacher and longtime theatre producer and director is the president and artistic director of Mainstage Classic Theatre (MCT) in Mansfield. We sat down for an interview. Read More »
We featured Mainstage Classic Theatre's Marty Fredrick in our May-June 2015 issue. Here's some more information and bonus photos. Read More »