The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title West Side Story
Organization Del Oro High School
Date(s) of show April 16-25, 2015
Reviewer Letha Dawson

Del Oro High School’s Theatre Arts Department, headed by ‘Sir’ Jeffrey Johnson, and The Company director, Shere ‘Mama Jones’ Freedman, have done it again:  tackled a mega-musical and staged it in Loomis brilliantly.  The audacious cast, production, design, and technical teams are undaunted by “big.”  When people say incredulously “You’re doing West Side Story?” they respond with a resounding, “Let’s get started.” 

And so if you’re looking for a night of exciting music, lots of fighting and dancing, you’ll find it at Del Oro High School.  The Placer Youth Orchestra, conducted by Marjorie Hartung, brings Leonard Bernstein’s romantic, lively, and threatening music to life. 

The sets are simple yet successful in creating the bridal shop, the drugstore, the fire escape and balcony which allows two young lovers to kiss. 

Gangs fighting each other for dumb reasons, Jets, the white kids who think they’re the “real” Americans, and Sharks, newer Americans from Puerto Rico, punch, push, and knock each other around on the bare stage bathed in blood red light, enhancing the tenseness, futility, danger.

Emma Claire Brock as Maria sings beautifully with a clear soprano voice.  She got a laugh from the audience when she warned Tony, “This is dangerous,” after he leaps up to her balcony, then in the next breath lands a big kiss on him.  Collin Smith, as Tony, sings, “Something’s Coming,” “Maria,” “One Hand, One Heart,” and delivers them all well.  Emma and Collin join voices in duets and enthrall the audience. 

Romantic moods are shattered by rhythm and dance as the Jets and the Sharks take the stage.  The fight choreography is dynamic; the dancers fast moving and muscular.  There are too many cast members to name everyone in this excellent production, but a few who stand out are Connor Mize as Diesel, Taylor Follett, as Anita, Charlie Patelzick, as Action, Trafton Hopkins, as Juano, and Mason Beseler, as Bernardo.     

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