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York Drama 2016-2017: A Year in Review

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Photo by: Rebecca Rogers

Photo by: Rebecca Rogers

Photo by: Rebecca Rogers

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With and interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, a comedic tragedy, and a revival of one of the greatest musicals of all time, it was a monumental year for York Drama.

Fall: Romeo and Juliet

Photo courtesy of: SR Photo

“Romeo and Juliet was an amazing way to kick off York’s season of drama,” says Erin Lee, sophomore. “Playing Juliet was hard work (lots of memorizing to do!) but an unforgettable experience that I am so thankful for. The show was tons of fun and very rewarding! We started with a script that we could literally barely read through without getting light headed and to get it to the point where we understood it and where it was second nature was truly amazing.”

Winter: Game of Tiaras

Photo courtesy of: SR Photo

This year’s winter festival was full of princes, princesses, Shakespeare, and hilarious tragedy. Game of Tiaras, by Don Zolidis, is a new take on Shakespeare’s King Lear that brought both the audience and the cast to tears from laughing.

“It was a smaller cast than normal for the shows at York, and while it still has a Shakespearean theme, it’s definitely the most comical of the three shows this season,” said Morgan Taylor, senior, who played Cinderella. “It was a much needed comic relief and it’s definitely something the audience had never seen before.”

Spring: West Side Story

Photo by: Rebecca Rogers

To cap off a huge season, York Drama performed Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s incomparable “West Side Story.”

“All of our shows this season still have relevance today, but ‘West Side Story’ is especially poignant because of the gang violence we can’t solve and the frustration of adults and teenagers not understanding each other and the world,” Performing Arts Director Rebecca Marianetti said about her decision to do “West Side Story” this year.
Students were surprised and overjoyed to learn about Marianetti’s choice. After Les Miserables in 2016, students were eager to find out what the next musical would be, and they were not disappointed.

“When this show was first announced, I almost didn’t believe we could be doing it, but it soon sunk in that we were doing this incredible show,” Sam Griffin, junior, said. “This show involves a significant amount of dancing that, being a dancer myself, made me very excited and eager to get started.”

Photo courtesy of: SR Photo

“West Side Story” is known for its complex and iconic dances. The original choreography was done by Jerome Robbins, and York Drama strove to recreate it as closely to the original as possible.

“‘West Side Story’ has been one of my favorite parts of senior year,” said senior Christine Millins, who plays Velma. “The whole cast is like one big family. ‘West Side’ has been challenging yet rewarding. Doing a show like this, that is so relevant to today has really opened up my eyes to the world around me. The music is incredible, I’ve learned some pretty cool new dance moves, and I’ve made life long friendships. This show has truly been an amazing experience.”

Along with learning the choreography, studying lines, blocking, and perfecting the songs, students have spent many hours studying the deeper meanings of “West Side Story,” as well as its relevance to issues today. The violence, racial differences, and misunderstanding between adults and youth are all still relevant today, and the cast is very aware of this. It was a crucial part of the cast’s understanding of the production.

“To me, ‘West Side Story’ is one of the most important pieces of work I’ve had the fortune to be a part of,” said Mike Bindeman, a sophomore who plays A-rab. “It depicts a multitude of struggles, all of which continues to resonate with audiences today because of the timeless themes these conflicts embody. This musical can enrich the lives of any who see it, and I truly think everyone can take something profound away from it.”

Photo courtesy of: SR Photo

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