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Last Thursday and Friday evening the 7th and 8th of May, a group of upper school students from the Abraham Lincoln School performed in the musical «West Side Story.» The production was a huge success, involving over 75 students and 8 teachers, and was the culmination of over 5 months hard work.
The sets and decorations were designed and created by the students themselves with a little help from teachers, Mr Adams and Mrs Hockley, and it looked fantastic, they really set a realistic backdrop for a wonderful show. The show was mesmerising – fast-paced and exciting as well as moving and thought-provoking. The leading lady Melissa Berges, from 11th grade, played the part of Maria splendidly, her acting was very impressive and her singing was beautiful. The part of Tony was shared between two students- Jeffri Encarnacion and Maria Julian this was handled very well by the producers, with Jeffri playing the acting part of Tony and Maria singing for him. The duo combined to make one of the most loved characters of the play, Jeffri playing his role convincingly and with real passion combined with Maria, who’s singing performance was breathtaking.
Among the other main characters were Laura Caraballo and Elizabeth Silfa who both deserve a special mention for their shared role as Bernardo’s girlfriend Anita. Together, the girls sang one of the play’s most famous songs «America,» which was an energetic and exciting scene which the audience (and the students) loved.
The ‘Jets’ gang leader Riff was played by Jacopo Avanzini, who played this challenging role very well, whilst the other gang leader Bernardo, leader of the ‘Sharks’ was played by Abraham Baez, who managed to portray this passionate Puerto Rican character very convincingly.
The two policemen played by Micheal Santana and Hanna Cruz were a very amusing duo, and played a small but critical part in the telling of this classic tale. The rest of the cast all did a fantastic job, the dancers were beautiful, all wearing brightly coloured dresses designed especially for the show and the Jets gang, which were mainly girls dressed up as boys, acted their parts well, combining humour with tragedy very delicately.
Of course such a brilliant show could never have been put together without the extensive help from all the teachers and students behind stage. The school and the students would like us to say a special thank you to Ms. Santana for all the hours of hard work she put into the show, well done Ms. Santana, we loved it!
For those of you unfamiliar with the tale of «West Side Story» which is a modern-day version of Romeo and Juliet, here is a synopsis of the story:
The play takes place in Manhattan’s West Side. Two gangs of young adults fight for superiority on the streets. Riff leads the Jets, who are of European descent (Irish, Italian, Polish) and Bernardo leads the Sharks, a gang of Puerto Rican Latinos, first generation immigrants. New to New York is Bernardo’s younger sister, Maria.
The two gangs meet at a dance and plan a venue for a «rumble» (fight) to decide superiority once and for all. At the dance Maria meets Tony, an Ex-Jet gang member and friend of Riff. The couple fall in love and are determined to stay together despite strong opposition from both sides. At Maria’s insistence, Tony tries to stop the rumble, but to no avail, instead Bernardo kills Riff and in an act of revenge Tony kills Bernardo, his lover’s brother.
Tony confesses the murder of Bernardo to Maria and they decide to run away together, unfortunately Anita, Bernardo’s girlfriend discovers their intentions and tries to stop them. The new leader of the Sharks Chino finds Tony and shoots him, he dies in Maria’s arms.
Finally the gangs call a truce, accepting the futility of violence and racism.
The Performance Team
Ms. Santana, Miss McGuire, Mr Coulby, Miss Donnelly
The Technical Team
Mrs Hockley, Mr Adams, Mr Murphy, Miss Brown
Tony: Jeffri Encarnacion / Maria Julian (singing vocals)
Maria: Melissa Berges
Bernardo: Abraham Baez
Anita: Laura Caraballo/ Elizabeth Silfa
Riff: Jacopo Avanzini
Lt. Shrank: Hanna Cruz
Officer Krupky: Micheal Santana
Francesca Di Sanzo
The painters (scenery)
Eva Matos – who designed the set
11th Grade art group
All costumes, props and choreography were done by the cast themselves!
The Abraham Lincoln School, located within Central Romana, in the town of La Romana, is a private school for the children of employees of the Central Romana Corporation, but is also attended by other children who pay yearly tuition fees.