West Side Story has been selected as Milbank High School’s 2016 spring musical. Performances are set for Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, at the MHS theatre.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transported to modern day New York City, as two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the “American” Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching, and relevant musical dramas of our time. The action takes place on the West Side of New York City during the last days of summer.
Riff, the spritely quick-tempered leader of the Jets, will be played by Tanner Kettwig. His friend, Tony, will be played by Chris Loutsch. Other members of the Jets include Ben Harstad as Action, Tim Gabriel as A-Rab, Keaton Hagen as Baby John, Isaiah Wollschlager as Snowboy, Chase Pinkert as Big Deal, Jordan Riley as Diesel, Adam Thomas as Gee-Tar and Dylan Michels as Tiger.
The leader of the Sharks, Bernardo – a proud, strong, handsome Puerto Rican man – will be played by Shawn Stemsrud. His hopelessly romantic and innocent young sister, Maria, will be played by Janette Hall. Maria’s dream self will be played by Ellie Webb. Bernardo’s feisty and assertive girlfriend and friend to Maria, Anita, will be played by Brianna Schreurs and Bernardo’s friend, Chino, will be played by Nathan Loutsch.
Other members of the Sharks will be Austin DeLaRosa as Pepe, Jose Chen as Indio, Isaac Snaza as Luis, Nolan Foss as Anxious, Andrew Falk as Nibbles, Ben Wagner as Juano, Zexi Gong as Toro, and Albert Pavlinac as Moose.
Other featured parts include Anybodys, a spunky tomboy who is desperate to become a member of the Jets, played by Kala Loehrer; Doc, the owner of the candy store where the Jets hang out, played by Colton Frevert; Schrank, a local police detective, played by Kaleb DeBoer; and Krupke, a local beat cop, played by Albert Pavlinac.
Filling the roles as the Jets Girls are Heidi Bergquist as Graziella, Hannah Rick as Velma, Savannah Mork as Minnie, Whitney Falk as Clarice, and Lindsey Geyer as Pauline.
The Sharks Girls will be played by Ellie Webb as Rosalia, Rebekah Tuchscherer as Consuelo, Kimberlly Aburto as Teresita, Shauna Pauli as Francisca, Katie Cannedy as Estella, and Brooke Fraasch as Margarita. Vahn Pham will play the part as Glad Hand, and Amberly Warren will be the female Somewhere soloist.
Filling in the ensemble as Jets, Sharks, background singers and dancers will be Devon Balling, Taylor Balling, Jimmie Berkner, Cara Berkner, Sara Capp, Kellie Christians, Kerissa DeBoer, Eliza DiNatale, Taylor Dragt, Sarah Grabow, Allison Grear, Sadie Holland, Mya Johanson, Paige Johnson, Cat Kroemer, Becca Loehrer, Christina Lusk, Courtney Lusk, Karlee Mertens, Claire Mischel, Jessica Mogard, Nadia Ortiz, Brittany Preller, Macie Redmond, Molly Rick, Korinne Roggenbuck, Kaitlyn Rufer, Mackayla Schuelke, Madi Schulte, Elisabeth Schwenn, Sophia Seffrood, Ashley Spors, Mikayla Street, Taylor Thue, Mallory Trapp, Clare Van Dover, Kimberly Van Sambeek, Mimi Webb, Abby Weber, Kassidy Wellnitz, and Ashley Wohlleber.
The MHS drama/theatre and music departments will work jointly in the production with Holly Hilbrands and Miriam Schwenn as directors. Sarah Jarman and Sarah Ward are the student assistant directors. Adam Thomas and Colton Frevert will run the lights and Alex Popowski will run the sound.
“The music and drama departments are working side-by-side in this production which will include a large number of students from MHS,” said music director Miriam Schwenn. “Putting on a musical is quite a process, but it’s also entertaining and rewarding. Come out and enjoy this fun musical.”