The Milbank High School spring musical production of West Side Story takes center stage Friday and Saturday, April 15-16. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. both evenings. “Over 80 MHS students are part of this fabulous production you don’t want to miss,” stated theatre director Holly Hilbrands.
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. 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, Isaiah Wollschlager as A-Rab and Snowboy, Keaton Hagen as Baby John, Chase Pinkert as Big Deal, Jordan Riley as Diesel, and Albert Pavlinac as Tiger.
The leader of the Sharks, Bernardo, will be played by Shawn Stemsrud. His hopeless 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 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, and Zexi Gong as Toro.
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. The Jets Girls will be: 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 of Glad Hand and Amberly Warren will be the female Somewhere soloist.
Filling in the ensemble as Jets, Sharks, background singers and dancers are: Devon Balling, Taylor Balling, Jimmie Berkner, Cara Berkner, Sara Capp, Kerissa DeBoer, Eliza DiNatale, Taylor Dragt, Sarah Grabow, Sadie Holland, Mya Johanson, Paige Johnson, Cat Kroemer, Becca Loehrer, Christina Lusk, Courtney Lusk, Claire Mischel, Jessica Mogard, Nadia Ortiz, Brittany Preller, Molly Rick, Korinne Roggenbuck, Kaitlyn Rufer, Mackayla Schuelke, Elisabeth Schwenn, Ashley Spors, Mikayla Street, Maneerat Thanyanat, Taylor Thue, Mallory Trapp, Kimberly Van Sambeek, Mimi Webb, Abby Weber, and Kassidy Wellnitz.
The MHS drama/theatre and music departments worked jointly on the production with Holly Hilbrands and Miriam Schwenn as directors. Sarah Jarman and Sarah Ward are the student assistant directors. Jamie DeVaal runs the lights and Alex Popowski runs the sound. Instrumentalists include: Alec Bien, Kellie Christians, Sophia Seffrood, and Shawn Stemsrud.