Living it up in Heckmondwike’s West Side

JETTING OFF: The 'Jets' are ready to rumble with rival gang, the Sharks.
JETTING OFF: The 'Jets' are ready to rumble with rival gang, the Sharks.

A CAST and crew of almost 100 will travel back in time to 1950s New York and its racially turbulent ‘West Side’ as they embark upon a three night run of Leonard Bernstein’s perennial musical.

Originally planned over a year ago, performers and musicians at Heckmondwike Grammar have been working hard for months to interpret the classic updating of Romeo and Juliet to a contemporary American setting.

West Side Story is the first musical directed by performing arts teacher Stacey Barton, working alongside muscial director John Hunter.

John said: “West Side Story is one of the most difficult musicals. Bernstein had already had success with On the Town and several other ballets in addition to the On the Waterfront film score, and West Side Story was a distillation of all his jazz and Latin influences which boil over in such classic numbers as America, I Feel Pretty and Cool.”

Taking lead roles are Callum Maney (Tony), Lileth Rees (Maria) and Kasia Howley (Anita), with choreography by pupil Mackenzie Sharpe, sound by Rich Deane, and music by a 16-piece orchestra comprising pupils and staff.

It runs from March 20-22, tickets are £5 from the school on 01924 418308.