Mount Saint Joe has never failed to give us amazing plays and musicals. This spring, the drama club performed the 1957 Broadway show West Side Story. Junior Brennan Hyde played a lead role as Tony with sophomore Patrick Scott playing his best friend Riff. Riff is the leader of the gang, the Jets, and deals with the feud between the Jets and the Sharks. The Sharks are a gang full of Puerto Rican boys led by Bernardo, played by senior Ezra Melchor.
While the two gangs fight for territory, Tony meets the love of his life, Maria, who is the sister of Bernardo. Mount De Sales junior Maya Nellum played Maria, as she and Tony fall in love and can’t wait to spend their lives together. Unfortunately for Tony, Maria is already engaged to Chino. For those of you literary scholars, West Side Story is obviously a modern twist on the classic story, Romeo & Juliet. As the two star-crossed lovers deal with the affair, it causes conflicts between the gangs. Maria and Tony fight for the freedom to love, while the gangs fight to end the feud once and for all.
As the cast and the crew were preparing for their performances, I had the chance to speak to Mr. Ader, who played the lead role of Tony when he was a student at St. Joe. Mr. Jason Ader, reflecting on his past performances, playing the role occupied by Brennan Hyde, said, “There was a lot of nostalgia watching some of my students play the same part I played 15 years ago…I’m really impressed and it was better than what we did!” Mr. Adam Kauffman, who was also in the show while a student at St. Joe, played the role of Jet member, Baby John. Sophomore Zach Polignone occupied the role this year, which was once filled by Mr. Kauffman. Mr. Kauffman said in the lead-up to the show, “I had a lot of fun in 2003 doing the show, I’m excited to see it. I have many students who are in the show [acting, stage crew, and in the band].
“There was a lot of nostalgia watching some of my students play the same part I played 15 years ago…I’m really impressed and it was better than what we did!” – Mr. Jason Ader
The show was seemingly a great success, as the audiences were overwhelmingly positive in their reception of West Side Story. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, I definitely recommend checking out the link below of all of the photos taken of the show. As a cast member, it was a cool experience playing a role in the production, and something I hope to hold onto, just like Mr. Ader and Mr. Kauffman. The production was led by theater director, Mr. Mike Hartsfield, who has guided this, his 30th show in his 15th year at Mount Saint Joe! As a cast member, I hope you enjoyed the show if you attended one of the performances. If you weren’t able to attend, I hope you come in the fall to see our next production!
To check out the full album of pictures from West Side Story, click here.
Ethan Webber is a freshman member of the Quill.