The Beacon School Leaderboard 09/05

Leighton Park School's Stellar Production Of 'West Side Story' Earns Rave Reviews

Published by Leighton Park School on Wednesday 14th of February 2024

Leighton Park School’s senior production, the iconic musical ‘West Side Story’,
enthralled audiences with its timeless tale of love and conflict last week.
Showcasing the immense talent and commitment of Leighton Park's students
and staff, the production ran from 6th- 9th February earning multiple rave reviews.


“We were bowled over with the calibre of the production, which was hugely
impressive and of real West End calibre!” remarked Nick Armitage, Head of
Rupert House, Henley. Luissa Galloso, Head of English and Drama at St Piran’s,
Maidenhead, exclaimed: “The performance of West Side Story was simply
stunning. I was enthralled by the creativity, inspiration and sheer talent of all the
performers who had worked incredibly hard to bring the stage and characters to
life”


Visiting families likened the performance to that of the West End, with one
parent declaring:” The quality of performance, attention to detail and
choreography was way beyond expectations. [My child] totally felt she was at the
West End”. Another audience member described the production as “mind-blowing!”.


Inspired by Shakespeare's ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘West Side Story’ transports
audiences to the streets of 1950s New York City where rival gangs, the Jets and
the Sharks, battle for control of their turf. Amidst the tension and violence, Tony, a
former member of the Jets, falls deeply in love with Maria, sister of the Sharks'
leader. Their forbidden romance ignites a violent chain of passionate events that
ultimately lead to tragedy.


In the spotlight as Maria and Tony were Eliza Rincon (Lower Sixth) and Aidan
McCarthy (Upper Sixth), who shared their reflections on the exhilarating show.
Brimming with enthusiasm, Eliza expressed her delight: “West Side Story is one of
my favourite musicals, as I enjoy the soundtrack so much, so it was a joy to be
cast as the lead. I really enjoyed preparing for the role, especially as my granny is
Spanish. She really helped to develop my accent for the production. Bringing the
show together at the dress rehearsal was amazing. The tech crew are so slick and
the orchestra are absolutely brilliant; there is so much talent in all areas of the
production”.


Aidan, in his debut theatrical endeavour, spoke passionately about the
camaraderie that flourished among the cast, remarking, “Everyone in the
production built closer bonds while working together, it made it much easier to
get into our roles and mean what we were acting. It was my first time ever being
in a play, and it was definitely a learning curve, but my main takeaway was I met a
lot of people who I hadn’t spoken to much before. We built friendships and I built
my confidence through this acting experience”.


Peter Scoggins, Head of Drama, commented “I simply love this musical
performed by young people. The music, the book and the lyrics are, of course,
genius but when creating West Side Story with actors the same age as the
characters there is a special feeling that creeps in. I am so proud that the cast and
crew were ready to fulfil their vision for the show and stood up to the challenge.
We have worked together as a community to meet that challenge”.


Peter also referenced Leighton Park’s choreographer, Beth Butler, as “a genius”
due to “being able to create work for advanced dancers and for novices that
blend together seamlessly to create such an impact, it's simply an amazing
example of 'Dance for All'”. Furthermore, the orchestra, conducted by Head of
Music, Rosemary Scales, added depth and emotion to every scene with their
flawless renditions of the show's memorable score and well-known songs such as
‘I Feel Pretty’ and ‘Tonight’. Comprised of a dedicated ensemble of musicians
from across the Leighton Park community, their execution created an immersive
auditory experience for the audience their passion for their craft enhanced the
magic of the performance, earning them lauding comments from opening night
attendee’s, such as “faultless” and “nothing short of phenomenal”.

Leighton Park School's  Stellar Production Of 'West Side Story' Earns Rave Reviews - Photo 1Leighton Park School's  Stellar Production Of 'West Side Story' Earns Rave Reviews - Photo 2Leighton Park School's  Stellar Production Of 'West Side Story' Earns Rave Reviews - Photo 3
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