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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

August 12, 2008

West Side Story From The Beginning (by Resident Actor Brian Zane)

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 6:57 pm

I have a confession to make. My name is Brian Zane and I’m addicted to West Side Story. There I said it. They say the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. However, my love of this show seems to be incurable. I was first seduced by this work of art at the spritely age of 7 and my condition has only worsened with time. It was one of the first musicals I ever saw and definitely my clearest memory of musical theatre at such a young age. The production was done by the Pleasantville High School (a small school that I would later attend) Performing Arts program and was more alive and raw than anything I had ever seen on small or big screen. The music, the dancing, the story: it all broke my heart and yet also awakened it. It awakened a need not only to see more theatre, but to become a part of it and tell this story and more stories like it. Suffice it to say, when I found out I would be playing the part of Riff, I felt like I was seven all over again.

Flash forward to our first rehearsal, this past Tuesday, when we had a read-thru and sing-thru of the show. I felt like a ball of energy, more excited for this read-thru than I had been for any other. We began to read and the energy and attitude of the show seemed to soar through us. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long to say my first line or sing my first song and I finally had an outlet for all my energy. When guest actor Aaron Velthouse (our Tony) opened his mouth to sing “Something’s Coming” alone and then the “Tonight” duet opposite resident actor Viveka Chandrasekaran (our Maria) I knew I was going to be part of something special.

The next night, Wednesday, our dance boot camp commenced. Let me repeat that phrase: dance boot camp. What, you may ask, is dance boot camp? Dance boot camp is everything you think it would be and more. Kevin Hill, our choreographer, is quite a task master and made us do pushups, sit-ups and all kinds of body-weight exercises until we were red in the face. Never having been in armed services, I can’t compare it to actual boot camp. However, I did play football all four years in High School, and I had flashbacks of three-a-day summer practices during dance boot camp.


(Center- Resident Actor Brian Zane at Dance Boot Camp) 

My name is Brian Zane and I’m addicted to West Side Story . . . And you know what? I’m just fine with that because I know that something really is coming.


 (Local Actor Cara Dolan and Resident Actor Brian Zane practicing their dance form)

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