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May 18, 1994 - Image 12

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1994-05-18

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12 -The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, May 18, 1994
'West Side,'the musical everyone is dying over6

my Melissa Rose Bernardo yet she can't stop talking about "West the announcement of "West Side
Linda Spriggs is too excited to Side" long enough to take a sip. Story" was made public, she jumped
drink her Cafe Latte. The Ann Arbor You see, Spriggs has been waiting at the chance to direct.
Civic Theatre (AACT) production of 30 years to direct this show. Her in- "Anybody in their right mind
"West Side Story" goes up tonight, a volvement with AACT began in 1987 wants to direct 'West Side Story,"'
production which she directs and cho- when she did some choreography for she exclaims. "I have wanted to cho-
reographs. Seated in Gratzi, the assis- "Damn Yankees," and that led to a reograph to that music forever. And
tant professor of dance claims she stint directing and choreographing having spread my wings and broad-
can't function without her caffeine "Ain't Misbehavin' in 1990. When ened my vision to become a director

as well, it was just such a wonderful
That opportunity, however, also
provides an immense challenge. "It is
amammoth undertaking," Spriggs ac-
knowledges. The original cast num-
bered 39; AACT's boasts over 50.
Thirty years of watching the movie
version should
well, but Spriggs I think that
was shocked to production t
discover how
very different the this time be
stage version
was. very import
"At first, I Its one w'
was so used to
seeingthis filmin to see that p
a certain fashion
... Thirtyyearsof people, and
induction to one
way of thinking just trying t
made me feel at another per
first, 'Well,
maybe I should another per
switch these two
scenes, or switch - L
thesethreescenes assistant
around.' And
then the more I
read it the moreI
realized why it worked as a theatrical
"WestSide" does work incredibly
well as a theatrical production. The
story is classic - lifted right out of
"Romeo and Juliet": Tony and Maria,
the star-crossed lovers (Scott Piper
and Christina Clark); two gangs, the
Jets and the Sharks, which represent
differing worlds, led by tough guys
Riff (Nicole Sherman) and Bernardo
(Ryan Bailer); the tragic, tear-jerking
ending. If the leads didn't wind up
dead, someone probably would have
written asequelforthe'93-'94Broad-
way season.
Spriggs is very intent on bringing
out the tension and the anger between
the two gangs--the fear and the blind
prejudice that eclipses Tony and
Maria's happiness and eventually
slates their demise. Tony and Maria's

story, as she sees it, should serve as a
wake-up call for our own troubled
"I think that this production comes
at this time because it's a very impor-
tant issue. It's one where we need to
see that people are people, and they
are just trying to see another person in
another person'
.eyes. (Tony and
this Maria) are not
comes at ting to see their
cause it's a they're trying to
see each other as
ant issue. human beings,
a shared experi-
)eople are ence of fun and
happiness. a
they are "These two
people find each
O see other and see
-son in each other as
young people,
-son's eyes.' and there's all
these '-isms' and
nda Spriggs, fears, anger, so-
professor of cietal pressures,
dance separtism,allthi
deceit around
them that pre-
vents them from really being able to
see their true selves."
Spriggs' eyes are lit up. She fi-
nally takes a few long gulps of her
latte, no doubt iced latte by now. "I
think it's a great story to be involved
in - either as a performer or a direc-
tor (or whatever)," she says. "I've
learned so much from this experi
ence. I love having the opportunity to
have great successes and great fail-
ures. That's what life's all about."
If this particular experience is a
success, Spriggs will have uncovered
the "West Side Story" that so often
goes unseen.
WEST SIDE STORY plays tonight
through Saturday at 8 p.m. at the
Power Center, with an additional a
p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets
range from $15 to $19. Call 971-
AACTfor information.

Lollapalooza concert tickets sold out in 7 minutes. It took the
performers a little longer.
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