Head to the Upper West Side and join the Jets and the Sharks for a rumble as the Prescott Center for the Arts presents its Teen Summer Stock Ensemble. This year, the cast will perform "West Side Story," directed by PCA Executive Director Jon Meyer and starring J.C. Lawler, Matt Osvog, Tomas Medevielle, Thomas Hernandez, Raina Duncan, Solena Daniels, Kaela McMahon, Jordan Kliphon, Izzy Kreiger, Frank Malle and more.
Meyer said that he is excited to be doing "West Side Story," noting that it is a show he has been wanting to do for a long time.
"I've known about the show since I was a little kid," stating that he saw one of the revivals on Broadway, that his high school did it, and he once stage managed a team production. "We're seeing it come together very slowly right now; it will be pretty phenomenal. We have some amazing talent."
With all the actors performing in the show, Meyer said he's very excited about Ozvog, who was also in "Grease" and last year's Teen Summer Stock Ensemble performance. Meyer said between those performances, Ozvog had gone to University of Arizona and returned transformed as an actor, noting that his stature on stage and presence was incredibly different. Ozvog is the play's "Tony."
But apart from Ozvog, Meyer said the show's cast is strong, mentioning that a component to the program is a dance class as the first hour.
Meyer also spoke very highly of Amanda Woolsey, who is the show's choreographer. He said during the second year of Teen Summer Stock Ensemble, Woolsey was in the cast of "Seussical" before asking if she could work behind the scenes.
"It was apparent immediately how talented she was," he said. "We decided to do 'Grease' the next year and I let her choreograph... She took kids who could not dance and made them look like dancers... she's been the choreographer ever since."
Meyer also brought up how a dance class is the first hour of the program, adding that it has paid off considerably. He said one of the young men in the program, who he noted is "macho" and in "really good shape," called Woolsey a good teacher.
And there's also the program's educational component, which Meyer said has a profound effect on a lot of the performers.
"They came in just liking doing theater and now they have a really healthy respect for what theater is," Meyer said. "They understand the discipline and they understand how much better it can be than just high school... they're not getting that kind of intense experience that we have here."
"West Side Story" will be at the Prescott Center for the Arts, 208 N. Marina St., from July 16-18 and 23-25 at 7:30 p.m., and July 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth and can be purchased at www.pca-az.net.
- by Jason Wheeler. Follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.