Harrisites watch West Side Story on Broadway

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Townsend Harris seniors and juniors visited Broadway Theatre last Wednesday to see a performance of West Side Story. 

Humanities teacher Raquel Chung helped to make this trip possible for students. Humanities seminar classes have begun preparing for the annual symposium focused around the themes of love and psychosocial transformation. 

West Side Story is a famous love story which focuses on how characters are transformed by the power of love, so it makes sense that this would be an appropriate performance for the students to see,” Ms. Chung explained. 

Remaining tickets were opened up to select juniors in Franco Scardino’s AP Research class. 

West Side Story is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in which two feuding gangs fight for control of the same territory. Set in 1950’s New York City, a former member of the Jets gang falls in love with their leader’s sister from rival gang, the Sharks. The pair devise a plan to run away together. When the Jets’ and Sharks’ hatred towards each other skyrockets and violence erupts, a tragic fate ensues on the two lovers. 

Senior Elizabeth Katanov said, “I very much enjoyed watching West Side Story. I loved the way that they combined media with dancing and acting to provide a newer kind of experience for a Broadway show.” 

Senior Nawshin Maleeha commented, “I loved the singing and dancing. Particularly, I loved the main character’s voice because it was so opera-like.”

“I enjoyed the effects and the performance but I wasn’t a fan of the story itself. There were multiple scenes in which realistic rain poured down onto the stage, and the gunshot scene was realistic and well-timed,” said senior Samantha Lee. 

Many students shared the opinion that watching West Side Story on Broadway helped them understand the theme of this year’s symposium.

Elizabeth explained, “I think the theme of love was presented in the most dramatic way in West Side Story. The couple met at a dance and were suddenly completely blind to everything else around them.”

Nawshin added, “Through its characters and plot, [West Side Story] clearly showed the psychosocial effects of romantic, extreme, and forbidden love.”

Photo courtesy of Julia Wojtkowski, Copy Editor.