PARKERSBURG - The Smoot Theatre's seventh annual Camp Broadway program for teens began Tuesday and will involve two weeks of practice, preparation and rehearsals before culminating in a production of the classic musical "West Side Story."
Schedule changes by local school systems caused by winter snow days led to all rehearsals being moved to the evening hours and shortened the amount of time available each day, Smoot director Felice Jorgeson said.
Beginning Monday, the teens will be working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the week to prepare for the production, which will be presented at 8 p.m. June 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. June 20.
Wayne Towner Special to the Times
Teens participating in the Camp Broadway program at the Smoot Theatre learn choreography for a production of “West Side Story” which will be presented June 18, 19 and 20.
"This is the most elaborate production we've done and in the shortest amount of time," Jorgeson said. "High school students, Camp Broadway alumni and four adults make up the cast of 35 that has been working diligently on this production since school recessed."
The students come from schools in Wood, Washington and Pleasants counties, but some also come from as far away as Lancaster and Caldwell, Ohio.
"One young lady comes to the Smoot's Camp Broadway for the third year all the way from the small town of Distant, Pennsylvania," Jorgeson said.
If you go
What: Camp Broadway production of "West Side Story."
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, June 20.
Where: Smoot Theatre, 213 Fifth St., downtown Parkersburg
Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for youth.
For more information: (304) 422-7529 (PLAY) or www.smoot-theatre.com
James Borick, 14, of Stockport, is participating in the Camp Broadway program for the first time this year, although he is no stranger to live theater. Borick said he has been involved in school music and plays since fourth grade and joined the Smoot's Camp Vaudeville program for younger children in 2009.
Borick believes the youth programs at the Smoot provide good entertainment for the audience and are good learning experiences for the students involved.
"I like it very much," he said.
Marietta resident Andy Danford, 18, has been participating in Camp Broadway for four years, beginning with its production of "Guys and Dolls." Danford said his favorite part of the Camp Broadway experience is the chance to work with "true professionals" like director John Lee, musical director Dan Monek and choreographer Brian Turrill.
"They are the best people that I've worked with in the area," he said, adding he also enjoys learning new things as he comes back to the program each year.
The plot of "West Side Story" is much like that of Romeo and Juliet, but set in New York City in the 1950s. The conflict is between two gangs - the Puerto Rican Sharks and the American Jets. Months ago, the camp staff decided that the four adult roles, however should be played by adults, Jorgeson said. Three of the four are being played by fathers of three of the young men in the cast.
Written in 1957, with music by Leonard Bernstein and words by Stephen Sondheim, "West Side Story" was a groundbreaking musical that incorporated elements of jazz, classical and pop music. The show will be accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra.