Theatre

West Side Story II

Time: October 18, 2014
Place: Stage One
Role: Bernardo
Director: Mark Helton
My Reflections

“Any fight is no good for us.”

Audition

Not unlike many shows I’ve done, I didn’t actually originally audition for “West Side Story.” Sure, I had thought about it and sort of wanted to, but I also was involved with another show (right after finishing yet another show) and the extra rehearsal time didn’t seem appealing. Plus, so much more driving at night. No bueno. I passed on it. El paso?

But later in the week, I was asked why I missed auditions and invited to attend the callbacks. Okay, sure, why not. Tony is (was?) on my bucket list, so it couldn’t hurt to at least show up and try out.

The callbacks were on a Saturday afternoon. It pained me to head out there on a day off, though I begrudgingly managed. I was a little surprised when I was asked about an audition song. Huh? What? I guess I had just assumed that would be waived. And hey now, it sometimes is, but not always. Usually, the purpose is just to see how a person sings. Since I’d been singing for several months in “Fiddler” with the same production company, I thought that was already apparent. Yet they did insist. I didn’t have any sheet music with me, but no matter…

I sang something from “Fiddler.”

We then read lines and that was that. The reading wasn’t bad. I’d seen the show numerous times and done it as well. There wasn’t a lot of “cold” in the cold reading. It was lukewarm at minimum. A couple of days later, I was pulled in from “Fiddler” rehearsal to sing more for Tony. The event was nearly comical. I’d race in, quickly sing a song, and then run back to rehearsal. It went okay. Not great, but okay. The songs are not easy. Understandably, directors aren’t thrilled when one leaves a rehearsal to attend another audition. I’m not fond of that either; however, if it’s for the same theatre company, then well, it’s for the good of the company. Can’t argue with that. It’s all for the same team. Viva Stage One!

But despite what I thought were okay auditions, sometimes “okay” isn’t good enough. I wasn’t cast as Tony, and that was that. Have a nice day. Come again. Be sure to write. Ta!

At least that’s what I thought. “West Side Story” still needed a Bernardo and I was asked to consider taking the role. A predicament. It wasn’t a role I auditioned for, but heck, I wasn’t currently occupied in anything else, and it was something quite different. Very well. Fine by me. Let’s roll. Almost…it turned out that the Riff had to drop (even before starting) due to another show. So that part was sort of offered. But then they’d still need the first role cast. It wasn’t completely my call, but I was asked which role I did prefer. Tough call. Both are good roles. But Bernardo has less dancing, and with my conflicts being what they were, that was a big factor. I chose … Bernardo.

We started rehearsing a day after “Fiddler” closed.

First Read

And here’s the part that I most wanted to part ways with the production. No one’s fault. I just realized during the reading that I was not fit for the role. The acting and dancing might be fine. The singing is non-existent (essentially) for that character; however, a strong Puerto Rican accent, I did not have in my acting arsenal. The reading was poor in that regard and I could sense it in myself and in many others. In short, it was quite a frustrating and disappointing night, and I was anxious to resign my commission, as it were.

At least that’s how I felt.

Obviously, I did not.

I mean, if I had floated above myself and examined the situation, I’d have realized that I there I was, wanting to quit something merely because I was not good at right after day one. And that’s a pretty poor way to face new things in life. I guess it would be nice to be perfect at sometimes right after deciding to do it, but what’s the fun in that? (Eh, maybe some fun.) No, it needed practice. No one gets a hole in one his first time at bat.

Analyzing it now, I think it (the accent) improved, though I have no misconceptions that it was ever spectacular. I guess it was passable. Most interesting was the feedback. Many didn’t say much, meaning, well, yeah, that aforementioned part about improvement. Others said it sounded perhaps Cuban, like Tony Montana from “Scarface,” and that’s partially what I was using for reference. There wasn’t much in the way of study material. And I did have that whole job thing to occupy me during the daytime.

A few said it was “good.” But again, only a few. I guess we all perceive things differently. Still, I was happy to hear some liked it. We did have someone in the show who was Puerto Rican, so you’d have thought all our accents would strengthen because of that, but in reality, there was so little time for accent coaching–with all the dances we had to learn and with so many conflicts being in the show. Unfortunately, as much as I would have loved to have it done, we never could set aside any real time for accent training. And I could not exactly impose myself on that person and ask for too much help. She was generous and offered assistance a few times, yet we were so preoccupied with other things in the show.

It was what it was.

Dance Studio

Like “Fiddler,” most of the early rehearsals took place in the dance studio. There are advantages to that–mirrors mainly. Yet, I do value the theatre time even more since you get to practice and experience the actual environment of the show space. I missed a few rehearsals for dance and that’s hard to recover from. There’s nothing so ingraining as the first time a dance is taught. It just sinks in more during those nights. Then, it’s slow and meticulous, and that’s a good thing for some of us.

Bad Set-pectations

We were prepared for the worst. The early reports stated that the set would be “challenging.” The house would have the last two rows blocked off and there would be tarps all over the place and that orchestra would be behind us. This was all due to renovations on the theatre. We expected extremely challenging conditions. The theatre isn’t in the best condition to begin with, so this added extra pressure.

Luckily, we didn’t end up getting the worst. The house was pretty intact and even though the orchestra was behind us, it didn’t hurt the show much. The only challenge is mainly for the leads to time starts and sing solos. If nothing else, it forces actors to listen more than watch for entrances. It’s not bad training. Having an actor constantly stare at the conductor is a little distracting during a show. Yes, it’s safe, but theatre should be about some risks.

But again, the theatre is in poor condition. I guess it’s always been that way. And no one is to blame. It’s just in an area where there’s not a lot of money going around. Low taxes don’t leave much room for theatre improvements, and I guess if more money did come in they’d want to assist the students of the school more in Math, English, and Science first. Computer Skills would also be a wise choice. This is all understandable. Priorities, man, priorities.

Though it’s still frustrating for the performers. But a lot of that can be solved with dim lighting. It helps with the stains. The audience only needs to see the stage, nothing else. Don’t worry about seeing the ground. It’s pretty much where you would expect it to be.

Orchestra

The easiest way to kill “WSS” is to perform it with a poor orchestra. Now, that’s not to say musicians are bad or intend ill will, but if they don’t have the adequate training to pull off such a score, the show will suffer terribly. It’s just a very complicated score with challenging pieces and time changes all over the map. You can’t take it lightly. I guess it’s the same with the dancing. It just has to be strong to work successfully.

But all that is immaterial as our orchestra really nailed it. We had a huge one too. I was continually impressed by how well they did. And the soloist musicians too. You mess up on the solo strings in this show, and the whole house feels it. With dancing, someone has to actually witness you messing up. Hit a sour note, and the whole audience will know, even if their eyes are closed. Although that could suggest other problems.

Missteps

Sometimes, things just go different than originally planned. Now, for me, as I didn’t have any real singing, there was no stress there and no real chance for error, but there were those darn dances.

It’s mainly timing. WSS has very repetitive motifs and while it helps for the melodic lines to sink in and ingrain themselves in the mind, it makes it much more difficult to know exactly when to make a dance entrance. For the most part, it was passable, but there were times…oh, yeah, there were times.

I did miss those early rehearsals and that hurt. Yet, things went fine after learning the numbers. During tech week, I felt the biggest concern. I’d miss an entrance, or my partner would miss an entrance. Those missteps (pardon the pun) were eye-openings and actually helped ensure a stronger run. If anything, the only major miss was the very last show when a couple of us just watched a cue come and go. We eventually came on … as the one guy out there was quizzically wondering where we were. We then saw the light (or realized the mistake) and took the stage.

The Missing Knife

“You brought a leather sheave to a knife fight?”

And that’s just what happened. Each night, we would enter from the house. We would sing, leap on stage, sing some more, and then part ways, and come back fighting, leading up to the final knife fight. It’s a simple plan and truly, not much could go wrong.

Aside from one of us not having a knife.

It only happened one night. During the silent huddle of Tonight, I was informed by Chino that he lost the knife. Not his fault, it just fell out of his side when we hopped up the steps (they hopped; I leapt up to the stage in a single bound). But that news was disconcerting. “Can you get it?” I asked in a whisper. He wasn’t sure. I said to perhaps go try. He left the huddle. My mind was racing to try and figure out a substitute. Usually I do have backups for all things, but in this situation, there weren’t many things that could resemble a knife. A pen? No. A … uh… shoot…nah. Nothing was going to work. And since Riff is stabbed, we couldn’t just pretend that it was a knife versus fists and Bernardo snapped Riff’s neck (Riff was not a small actor). I was hopeful that the knife could be retrieved. There was still a little time.

It could not be retrieved.

When the rumble began, I didn’t know what the situation was. But I learned right away during the knife hand-off when I was handed a leather sheath–with no knife inside. Okay, maybe it would look like a soft brown knife to the audience. I mean, those exist, yes? No, I think people knew something was afoot.

But you adapt and overcome. If nothing else, it was memorable.

I “stabbed” Riff. He fell. Tony stabbed me. Sirens sounded. The stage went dark. It was finally over.

And yet I’ll remember it forever.

It’s one of those anecdotal funny stories you tell at future cast parties, beginning with: “Well, I remember one time when …”

American?

There were lines that flowed gracefully onto the stage. And then there were a few that just somehow took a wrong turn after leaving the brain. One was during a long scene. It was this: “The Polack is an American.” But I found out early on, that when I would practice it, it would come out, “The American is a Polack,” because that was said earlier. So I did extra mental duty to ensure it started out with “American.” But sure enough, one night, it started and ended with American: “The American is an American.”

(Oops!)

How many caught that?

I don’t even want to know. But a cast member or two mentioned it later. It didn’t go un-heard.

Fat Lip

You’d think that it would have happened during the fights, but nope. My fat bloody lip occurred during a regular scene, and it was entirely my fault. In essence, I ran into a brick wall–Riff. Somehow, I chest bumped into Riff a little too hard and my head hit a shoulder or something. But my lip bashed into my tooth, and my tooth made its presence known. It was mainly just frustrating. But despite a little blood and swelling, it was nothing serious. I might have talked funny for a few minutes though. Luckily, there are large breaks between scenes.

Turns out the theatre is also shamefully lacking in good ice packs.

Parties

I believe we had a couple large parties. I had one prior to opening. It was a grand time with a plethora of karaoke singing. At first, I tried to use the DVDs, but many were of a dead format: VCD, and I didn’t even have a player for that anymore. The DVDs were also too random and dated, (What? No one wants to sing The Carpenters?!) so finally just the Internet was used. And that’s the next big thing. The song selection on the web is just too hard to compete with. There was never an empty moment on the mikes.

In the kitchen, there were some wild games going on, and outside there were people chatting for the longest time. Since it was not a post-show party, the noise going until 4am was not an issue. I think we wrapped it all up before 12am–a new record. It felt late at 11pm. I don’t think a cast party has even finished at 12am in the history of theatre.

The only problem was lack of food. I guess I just needed to have a signup list or something. We mainly just had some KFC and bean dip. People would not be pigging out at this party. It would probably help if I got my oven fixed. So much to do, so little time.

Another party was the final night. A shark lady hosted it at a very nice home in Union City. We enjoyed an ample selection of food. I mean it was a sweet setup with many great Puerto Rican dishes to choose from. I mainly just stuck with two beers. But at the end of it, I was sober and hungry.

And most of the good food was gone.

I think I had crackers and salami at that point.

Outside, there was a nice fire going, so I spent some quality time there. Later, they would do the awards. I enjoy the spirit of the awards, but man, they do last quite a long time. Perhaps there should be something borrowed from the Academy Awards and music should start once a speaker surpassed 10 minutes or so. Heck, we already have an orchestra. That could be arranged; I’m sure of it!

Huddle

During the “Tonight” number, we sang for a bit, then huddled up while others sang for a bit. It was a memorable time since I could silently ask each gang member what his (or her…her playing a him…so I guess a “his”) plan of attack was. I’d go clockwise to each person one night and then counterclockwise the next time. It’s good to keep things random.

Hotels

Apparently, there were many hotel parties too. I didn’t attend those, but I could see who did. Those people would stagger in the next afternoon with sunglasses over their tired, bloodshot eyes. But they would perform at top level, so no one could complain about that. Get the job done and you’re free to drink a pint of vodka and party until dawn.

Still, I wouldn’t recommend it. They looked like death.

Fighting

When you do WSS, you have to prepare for some heavy fighting (stage kind). It’s not rocket science, but it’s also a bit challenging in that every single movement must be remembered exactly as planned. Mess up a dance step, and you look a little silly, but nothing more. Mess up fight choreography and someone could get injured.

So a few rehearsals were entirely dedicated to the fighting. It was well done, with the idea of careful control being repeated often. And this led to safe fights during the show. Admittedly, this was tough. My background is in karate and while control is preached and practiced, there usually is a fair deal of medium or heavy contact. A whole aspect of karate is learning to take a solid kick or a punch. The risk of an accident is not too high, but it’s up there, and happens on occasion. And most of the heaviest contact and energy occurs during testing, where if one does get slightly injured, he or she can usually finish a test and perhaps visit the ER afterwards. With a show, it’s hard to perform the rest of a run in a cast (Ha! Unintended pun. I even surprised myself on that one!)

(Side note: during one karate test where I “dummied” for someone’s black belt, I actually did visit the hospital due to severe chest pains. The x-rays came back negative, but the doctor advised to cease the whole “getting kicked in the chest” aspect of the test. I couldn’t stop it, but I did have the other person tone it down a bit. X-rays are about 0 and I didn’t really feel like returning.)

The fights also demonstrated the good acting skills of the cast members. You could see such hatred pouring out of the characters towards the other gangs, but none of it ever happened offstage, indicating it was all fake. Nobody disliked another person or had ill will when they exited the stage.

Which is a comforting thing, especially since other emotions can and do pour over afterwards. If I’m ecstatic and happy during a scene, then I often will still feel it when the scene is done. Sometimes, even being sad or dejected can last a few minutes after the spotlight ends. But anger or hatred is just gone. It was all make-believe. That said, one does usually get the rush or energy of being in a heightened state. After the rumble, while there’s no anger leftover, there does remain a type of intoxication from the intense emotion. It definitely wakes you up. I guess it’s a safe drug.

Provided you aren’t injured during the fighting scene.

Strike

While it doesn’t occur with all companies, strikes are not uncommon either. At Stage One, they strike. Well, we strike (struck?) Ah, always a melancholy time–tearing apart sometimes that took months to construct. I guess I mean that in general, as I didn’t physically build most of the set. However, at that point, the dances are over, the music is over. The scenes are over. Steps, lyrics, and lines all can slowly fade and slip away, out of one’s mind.

Restaurant

Actors are a hungry lot of people. After a show, they like to eat. Okay, I do too on occasion, though I try to tread lightly when it’s late at night. Theatre can be a great way to lose weight. I mean you spend the entire evening quite occupied and often moving around. It’s easy to forget about food. So if one simply skips that part about eating after a rehearsal or performance, or at least goes easy on the calories, it can lead to more desirous readings on the morning scale after a while. It can often lead to sessions of 10 hours without any food. The actor’s diet! Give it a shot!

To Bow or not to Bow

That was the question. The answer was a lot of “no,” with a bit of “one,” and no option for “some.” The reasoning? Well, “WSS” is a somber show with guns and knives and a few unlucky souls. I’d like to say it ends well, but it’s a tragedy and those usually don’t have a happy dance to conclude the event. So the decision was for a quiet, serious ending, and bowing was hindering that direction. Having groups of actors trot on, toothily smile, and bow was not on the menu.

So the vote ended up being one bow, all together.

My thoughts? Hey, I’m not the director.

Okay, I can still have an opinion and agree or disagree as I see fit. Forsooth, I shall.

I actually am okay with bows, even for a serious show. There’s a point where the show has ended and the audience meets the actors, and that’s when the bows begin. At that point, you meet the person, not the killer; the actor, not the victim; the creator, not the character. You applaud if you choose, or refrain if you’re not pleased. Or stand if you’re enthralled*. I’m not convinced there’s any true value in going home melancholy. I mean, once the audience meets cast members outside, it’s not like they won’t be cheerful then (unless they fell off the stage in Act II or something). As well, theatre is voluntary for most and bows are often more for the actors and audience than anyone else. The story has ended. We are no longer in it. We are no longer Tony, Maria, et al.

However, that said, I went along with it just fine and voiced no disdain. It’s not my call, as I wasn’t chosen to direct. Provided something doesn’t grossly violate the original author’s intention, the choices made will always be accepted and followed without protest. If nothing else, it did get many people wondering about why there were no bows–well, just one group bow at least.

Actually, the first time I did WSS was the same way–just one final group bow with somber, grimaced people. I pretty much anticipated this production having the same choice made. Methinks it’s probably fairly commonplace for this musical.

*Actually, I think we do our standing O’s a little too easily in America. This isn’t to say shows are not well done and audiences are not completely satisfied, but it always reminds me of a college professor in writing class who got annoyed at the students always giving peer reviews and always saying, “Your story is great!” The professor said, “Stop tossing around ‘great’ for every story you read. They’re nicely done, yes, but save ‘great’ for works that are just far superior to all others out there. Otherwise, you’ll have nothing to say when you do come across a great work.” As an actor, if it happens too often, it doesn’t demonstrate or signify when a particular production excels all expectations. And moreover, one can start to worry when it does not happen. “You’re not standing up! What’s wrong? Did you hate us?!? This is Seussical, people! ”

Changes

WSS gets changed a lot. The changes are not massive; they’re mainly small reordering of songs to better fit the intended mood and direction of the show.

In “America” (the number), people like or have become accustomed to the Hollywood version where the Shark men square off against the Shark women. It’s not a bad method, and perhaps more entertaining than the original score, but still, not as written. “Cool” gets often shifted around too. And I believe “Office Krupke” is usually moved. Act I may finish at a different spot from time to time too.

These are all allowable changes as they don’t hurt the production. Granted, any change has to be done cautiously, as we don’t want to second-guess the choices of the original authors who usually know a great deal about crafting and writing a show. What may change though is the decade or century. Today’s audience isn’t identical to one 60 years ago. Attention spans have shifted. One’s idea of comedy and tragedy will probably have the same roots of human experience, but how those ideas are illuminated and executed may have altered.

What I liked most…

The cast. This isn’t unusual. It was a great group of hardworking people and some fine and talented members were involved. I liked that in the end–it all worked. The audiences responded well, and many were deeply moved by what took place. This isn’t always easy to do with a story so old, but yet…it’s a powerful story.

I wouldn’t be so vain as to say everyone loved the show. In fact, I know one person who did not. At least I was told this during a cast party. A cast member said her friend (who was also into theatre) came that night and told her he didn’t like the production. I was a little taken aback by that. Not that the show could conceivably be not loved by all humans walking planet Earth, but rather, I was wondering, “Why the heck are you telling us this at a cast party before the run is even done!?”

You know what though? I’m glad she did. I’m glad to know that. Why? Because I want every show to have a reaction, good or bad. Sure, 100% good feedback is nice, but I want people to come and have some sort of thoughts about what they saw. The worst thing that could happen is someone seeing a show and just having no reaction, like nothing at all occurred on that stage. Love it or hate it, at least you’re affected.

What I liked least…

There were a couple of times when the rehearsal notes could have been a little more tactful, but it wasn’t the norm, and stress can affect us all in different ways. Mind you, it wasn’t a vile experience, but it’s always prudent to be highly respectful of the actors and their time (and vice-versa) But that’s all. The “no like” list is very short, which is always a bonus.

I’m happy to have been a part of it all and glad I accepted the role, despite the rough start. Sure, the actual role itself wasn’t my favorite. It has a few nice moments, but there wasn’t much time to go terribly deep into things before a scene change would happen (common for most musicals–though not all). But learning more stage fighting was beneficial and the constant challenge to stay fit and work out more was a nice added bonus.

Remembering Others

Each person had something unique and special to offer. I won’t remember everyone, but a few memories stay with me–either about the actor or his or her role. I can’t always say something about all performances since I was off-stage a lot and didn’t see what was taking place.

Adults

Gladhand — Stephanie was funny as her main character but very versatile in fitting into all sorts of other scenes and dances. That whistle she blew caught half the cast by surprise for quite some time.

Shrank — Brian took a very in-your-face approach to Shrank, probably getting many to really hate his character. If anything, a person like Brian’s Shrank is preferred over a calm, two-faced racist who acts one way but thinks another. I’ve seen both takes on the role and am glad it’s done in different ways.

Krupke — David’s biggest character trait in real life is how kindly he cares for his mother, though a few times, we wondered how close to show time he’d arrive. To his credit, he always did.

Doc – Kevin was a funny actor who would often have a clever t-shirt on or something related to the show. He was the first to point out the hockey event going on during closing Saturday with the “Sharks versus Jets.”

Jet Men

Dane was great to work with. No mistakes in the fight ever occurred and he always made time to go over the moves. While the character was always starting trouble, the actor was very kind to others.

Jason — I remember chatting with him one night and he mentioned building a website which helped unify actors and events. I thought, “This is one cool project!” I hope it does well as it’s always tough finding out about auditions. It’s www.stageagent.com

Jacob — His “giving up on the fence climb” during the rumble was a comical bit indeed. It offered one last laugh before the killing began.

Timothy — Since I was always off stage, I never saw him dance, yet he was commended quite a few times for doing a great job.

Burton — I remember him running around backstage, yelling “Maria!” over and over and over. Luckily, the set change got quicker as it turned “West Side Story” into a comedy for a brief moment in time.

John — There was no shortage of “action” in this actor. The casting was well done when it came to his role. He looked pretty banged up after each performance.

Jeremy — Another actor who dived into his role and it showed. Having worked with him during his first couple of theatre shows, it was nice to see how much progress was being made.

Robert — An ironical moment was dueling with his character, as the actor is a genuinely nice person.

Allison — Watching Ali transform from the coy, sweet young lady in “Fiddler” to the rough, scrapping Jet was notable. She had no issues with the rumble either.

Tyler — She’s a soft-spoken person in real life full of surprising talents such as art and piano. This all made it surprising when a bold, aggressive Anybodys exploded from her each night.

Matthew — He does improv well. During one show, we filmed a whole “coat throw” scene, which was fairly entertaining–to me at least. He had a bit going with Anybodys, though I never could ascertain the joke behind it.

Shark Women

Nique — Apparently, she thought I extended the Sharks “call to arms” during one prologue, and found it quite funny. Thus, the call got a little longer each show. And I would pantomime it in the “huddle” as well. It was a fun bonding moment each time. To this day, I believe I can still get her to laugh with a long, drawn out “SHAAAAAARKS!”

Danielle — Ah, my Anita. My favorite moment was actually practicing our main scene before each show. We could always discuss ideas and try to enhance what took place on stage. Come to think of it, some of my favorite moments in theatre are doing scenes before scenes.

Amanda — This gal could certainly make the most of her lines, turning each one into quite comical bits. It was fun to watch, especially her “I know you do!”

Nicole — I hadn’t even realized I had done “Charity” with Nicole four years before, but it finally came up in conversation one night. I was happy she took my advice about reading “Shutter Island” and I would ask her about it each night. She sings karaoke very well too.

Miko — I only danced with her a brief bit in “Somewhere.” After missing the stage left dance entrance for a second time during tech week, she asked if I thought I had the time to run around the stage and get there from stage right. I said, “Yeah, I have the time–I just have to have the memory.” (I kept forgetting that part–yet made it every show.) As well, after the first time dancing with her, I thought, “This girl waltzes very gracefully. Must be a trained dancer.”

Ally — Her Rosalia was great and full of expressive facial expressions during America. I imagine she’ll have many lead roles down the line.

Angela — I wasn’t in the makeup room a lot, but Ally kept it alive by singing a number of songs–from shows or elsewhere.

Jacqueline — She was our go-to Puerto Rican as she actually is. I remember seeing her photo album and that she played Maria many moons in the past. And as a cook…wow.

Stephanie — My hairstyle pompadour was great thanks to her, as she assisted every night with mine and probably most of the cast. I wasn’t surprised at all when she was awarded the Gypsy Robe. I also made sure to donate accordingly for all the sacrificed hair products she had to purchase.

Tanya — She was my secret pal recipient and I remember one night, she was sharing with us the candy I had given her. I knew it would be breaking my candy vow if I accepted (since technically I’m not supposed to eat any candy I buy), but I also figured that if were to turn down candy, it would be a huge giveaway. So I accepted.

Leslie — My favorite memory is when she brought her stage brother (me) a Shark Cap. She was delighted when I wore it for a spell. And as I can’t stand cold winters, it’s handy to have. Leslie was impressive to watch from curtain to close, and I enjoyed having her as a sister to guard and protect. She’s truly a sweet person.

Shark Men

Jon Espejo — Jon was impressive in that he made the most of his time as Chino, from acting quietly bashful to highly distraught at the ending. But mainly, chatting about stocks and real estate was enjoyable.

Paul — I always wondered if he understood my mimed dialogue after the stabbing. He listened well, so I’m guessing he did.

Colin –He being a Shark and his dad being Shrank was fun to watch. I only caught a little of it, but his dad seemed to really treat him as a Shark on stage. Colin also did a rather amusing “Ahrnuld” impression.

Steven — He was great to have around, as the pushup contests were always challenging. I also didn’t feel so self-conscious flexing as there was least one other person doing the same exhibition of vanity.

Dennis — Another “Fiddler” person to join West Side, he also transformed well into a whole new persona, and always had such a positive attitude during each rehearsal and performance.

Dominic — His dedication to getting the songs and dances right really helped us out. Before we opened, he helped ensure we were going to be okay on the Tonight Rumble song.

Jet Women

Jenny — it was nice to see her getting to perform with her husband directing. Always a bonus when married couples can engage in theatre together.

Kathryn — Some dancers just really stand out to be noticed and she is one of them. I think my mom made note about her dancing.

Minna — For such a nice person, it made it almost comical to me for us to scowl at each other during the circling gangs section of the “Dance at the Gym.”

Ashley — One was never sure whose side she was on, as she got to be in many dances and scenes. She was essentially the Baby John of the Jet Girls.

Katie — She loved to be in photos–all of them! Somehow she’s just magically be sitting behind any photo or video you were trying to take. Actually, she too could be considered the Baby John of the Jet Girls.

Lanie — The extra time she spent polishing or fixing dance numbers paid off greatly.

And that’s about it. It was a fun way to spend the late summer and fall of 2014. It was my second WSS, and I’m not sure there will ever be a third time.

But one never says never in theatre.

Next: A new record for repeating a show!

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