A Manitou Sided Story

The biggest production in years draws talent from all divisions of Manitou's arts programs

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Preparing for the infamous "Rumble" Riff rallies his Jet Boys.

William Dillinder, Writer

This year marks many firsts in Manitou’s arts department: a first for a full symphony program, a first for multiple new directors, a first for part time drama directors, and a first for a musical encompassing all of the arts programs that the school has to offer. In the biggest production that Manitou has put on in over 10 years, West Side Story demonstrated a Broadway esque show. Abby Steen, Wendy Harms, Nicole Berry, and Terry Leve worked synonymously as co-directors both independently and together on the production as a whole. Terry as director of bands, Wendy as acting/drama director, Nicole as choreographer of dance,  and Abby Steen as Choir/ singing director.

One of the biggest changes made for West Side Story was the inclusion of an all student live pit. The last time a production featured a live pit was over 10 years ago. The entrance of a live pit “added more depth to the production, instead of some unintentionally overdriven track played over the speakers; it was much more full and complimented the singers voices” according to attendee Leland Spangler. Isabel Duffard, one of the actresses, did comment however, that “it was awesome, but it was very loud –regarding the band — necessitating the use of microphone. If they were to do it again they might want to work on better microphoning techniques. I’ve performed on this stage for years and never needed to use a microphone before this.”

High in volume or not, the majority of the volume came from those who actually went to the performance; attendance for the show had the auditorium nearly bursting at the seams. The house was packed both Saturday night and during the Sunday matinee. Daisy Erickson said that “it was amazing” how many people attended the performances. Evidently, the instance of a snow day canceling the friday night premiere had virtually no affect on participation the following two days.

The work behind the making of this performance can hardly be quantified, the closest number amounts to over 4 months of practice, preparation, and coordination. This extensive amount of work is reciprocated by the extensive show of support, interest and presence of the students public and peer audience during their last showings of West Side Story. Manitou seems to have outdone itself in this overwhelming entourage of Artistic coordination, it will be intriguing to see what is put on at the auditorium in the coming years, the bar has most definitely been raised.