Helias Catholic High School 2023 Spring Musical: “West Side Story”

 A cast of Crusaders will become Jets and Sharks when Helias Catholic High School presents “West Side Story” as its annual spring musical March 10-12, 2023, at the Miller Performing Arts Center in Jefferson City.

At the time of its opening in 1957, “West Side Story” was unique in that it detoured from the lighthearted, comedic approach to most Broadway musicals by adapting the Shakespearean tragedy “Romeo and Juliet.” The story takes place in the late 1950s in the midst of the struggle for control between two rival gangs in a New York City neighborhood. Within this contentious drama, two teenagers discover love but find themselves wrenched between their chaotic and brutal worlds.

Amy Pringer will serve as director and musical director, making “West Side Story” the sixth musical production she has led for Helias Catholic High School. Ron Vossen will continue building on his 40-plus years of involvement with the spring musical, serving as production manager and set designer.

“I am unbelievably excited and honored that I get to work on this remarkable musical. It is truly a classic and one that Ron and I have had on our list of musicals to collaborate on for years,” Pringer said. “I find it to be even more poignant to be doing this as a high school production because many of the characters in the musical, including members of the gangs and the two ill-fated lovers, are teenagers. To portray the powerful story of a vulnerable community during a violent power struggle and still be able to keep the energy of the music and the beauty of romance alive will be a distinctive challenge for the cast this year. I know that with the amazing talent at Helias Catholic, it will be a show audiences will talk about for a long time to come.” Helias Catholic’s spring musical is a long-running tradition that regularly involves up to 100 students and community members, from elementary-age actors to community volunteers who help with lights, sound, costumes, choreography and more. Recent years’ musical productions have included “Anastasia,” “Back to the ‘80s,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Footloose,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Wizard of Oz.” “It takes about a year of planning to make sure everything is ready to make this production something special,” Vossen said.

Auditions for Helias Catholic’s production of “West Side Story” will be held Dec. 4, 2022. Workshops will be held a month before the auditions to teach the material and allow students to better prepare. Workshop and audition details will be published on the Helias Catholic Spring Musical website, https://sites.google.com/a/heliascatholic.com/spring-musical-1/home, by Oct. 1, 2022.