West Side Story reveals deep collaboration culture

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Senior Adrian Fonseca shows off hours of painstakingly choreographed dance in the "Mambo" routine in West Side Story . He is backed by dancers sophomore Lucas Yuan, senior Antonio Herrera, freshman John McCorkle and senior Thomas Quintero. Photo by Justin Van
Senior Adrian Fonseca shows off hours of painstakingly choreographed dance in the “Mambo” routine in West Side Story. He is backed by dancers sophomore Lucas Yuan, senior Antonio Herrera, freshman John McCorkle and senior Thomas Quintero. Photo by Justin Van

The annual spring drama production of West Side Story recently drew to a close, entertaining over 1500 patrons over the course of the four day, four show run.

With an excellent cast featuring the acting, singing and dancing talents of many students from St. Thomas and its three sister schools. Senior Wayne Babineaux, again graced the stage, with his male lead role of Tony alongside Incarnate Word Academy Senior Jackie Vasquez, starring as Maria.

Also a major presence on the stage were Seniors, Adrian Fonseca and Travis Carroll, playing leaders of opposing gangs, Bernardo and Riff respectively.

The story chronicled the romance between star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria. However, their two separate ethnicity and rival gang affiliations attempt to draw them apart.

West Side Story 04-07-16 JV (69)
Senior Wayne Babineaux as Tony (left) and IWA senior Jacqueline Vasquez as Maria (right). Photo by Justin Van.

Loosely based upon William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it transforms this story and places it inside the slums of 1950s New York City. However, the actors were not the only responsible for bringing this work of art to life, a dedicated crew behind the provided an essential role.

“You can’t do a show alone. You’ve got to do it together as a team.”

-Jackie Vasquez, IWA Senior

In charge of bringing this whole production into reality was English teacher and Theater director Dan Green. As his 22 major production at St. Thomas, his experience and wisdom proved essential to the effort. In conjunction with his efforts, the majestic and most complex set in STH theater history was designed and constructed under the direction of L.E.C. math specialist Steven Fuchs, alumnus Steve Green ’68, government teacher Philip Gensheimer, and STH chief engineer Duane Fushser.

The set featured a two tired rotating set piece, a stationary two – story set piece, a mobile building and two highway overpass columns, in addition to many other stage setting pieces.

Even in its infantile stages, the set is intimidating. Photo by Nick Silva.
Even in its infantile stages, the set is intimidating. Photo by Nick Silva.

Coordinating the movement of this entire masterpiece of construction with the largest set crew in STH history, was English teacher Laura Speck, who served as stage manager, with assistance from student stage managers Senior Joseph Dupuis and IWA junior Sarah Irish.

Add to this the intense musical talents of the orchestra, conducted by Choral Director Josh Wilson and containing several student musicians including Seniors Conrad Henry and Seth Dalton.

In short, the entire production of West Side Story filled with collaboration from across the spectrum of gifts and talents, representing a microcosm of the entire STH community in itself. Sophomore Isaac Flanagan who performed as A-Rab in the show recommends STH theater as an experience for everyone.

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Joseph Nemec serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Eagle. In his spare time he enjoys correcting people's grammar and writing editorials inciting students to sell their round-up quotas.

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