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February 2006

Release Date: February 7, 2006

Love flourishes in ‘West Side Story’ at ASU

Angelo State University will offer Valentine’s Day lovebirds a modern incarnation of a timeless love story when it presents “West Side Story,” beginning Feb. 11.

Ostensibly a version of the Shakespeare classic “Romeo and Juliet,” the musical is set on the tough streets of 1950s New York. Tony, the former leader of the “American” gang the Jets, falls in love with Maria, sister of the head of the Puerto Rican gang the Sharks.

In spite of the friction that arises between the two groups, Tony and Maria’s love flourishes, only to end tragically.

“The story itself does teach us something,” said drama professor Bill Doll, who is producing and directing the musical. “Love can grow out of this huge battle and this hate between two groups. And if it can happen for Tony and Maria, it can happen for anybody.”

The musical will show at 8 p.m. Feb. 10-11 and 17-18 in University Auditorium, 2601 W. Avenue N. There will be a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12.

Tickets are $8 for the general public, $4 for non-ASU students and $3 for ASU students. Arts at ASU subscribers are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the door 30 minutes before the start of the show, or in advance at the box office in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building. Reservations may be made by calling 942-2000, 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Many of the actors and actresses in the ASU production had minimal dance experience. This presented a challenge for Doll and three student choreographers, who had to account for fitting a cast of 32 onto the stage of University Auditorium, then tailoring their movements to the space constraints.

A 12-piece ensemble also was required to perform Leonard Bernstein’s Latin-influenced, brassy score for the musical, adding another piece to the production puzzle.

“When you’re producing a big musical like this, it’s as much about management as it is about reaching a specific vision,” Doll said. “You get a better product when you let people create together and do their job. It’s nice when you have a lot of creative people to work with.”

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