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West Side Story opens at YMTC this Friday

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West Side Story draws its inspiration from the Romeo and Juliet tale. Its world of tenements and gang wars makes it relevant to contemporary audiences.

SHN SF describes the show: "Two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, find themselves caught between rival street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Their struggle...in a world of violence, hate and prejudice is one of the most heart-breaking...and innovative musical masterpieces of our time."

West Side Story is a sumptuous, modern amalgam of music, dance and book. YMTC’s production met with several challenges, one of which was casting. They had to find over 40 teenagers who could act, sing and dance.

Jennifer Boesing, YMTC’s director’s mission for this production is “to tell the story well with actors who understand what it’s about.”

At the initial table read, the young cast talked about tolerance and acceptance as they relate to school cliques. Although cliques emphasize exclusion of the “other,” teens realize that they can rise above the pettiness of these groups.

The challenging Leonard Bernstein score includes the iconic songs "Something's Coming," "Tonight," "America," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." Sondheim was barely more than a teenager when he penned these classic lyrics. David Moschler is the musical director.

West Side Story runs from July 13 through 21 at El Cerrito High Performing Arts Theater, 540 Ashbury Avenue, El Cerrito. Tickets are $12 to $24, and are available at Brown Paper Tickets.

YMTC (Youth Musical Theater Company) is a Berkeley non-profit that presents Broadway quality musicals with full orchestras. It also offers quality theater training to pupils from middle school through college.

YMTC combines polished and proficient young actor/singers talented and dedicated young singer/actors with theater professionals to produce exemplary theater experiences.

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