Something amazing is coming to the Star Theater in Oceanside this Friday. It is not just Opening Night for the annual SFC spring musical, but for the first time in the history of SFC theater, one in four Upper School students are involved in the production. SFC’s eNews team had the chance to meet up with director Matt Corsaro and production assistant Mary Randel to discuss the exciting school-wide phenomena, and find out a bit more about the production of West Side Story.

Recruiting for the Team

Drama teacher Matt Corsaro has a different approach when it comes to enticing students to perform on stage. “The number one thing is that drama has to feel all-inclusive to every kid here, and that they could be in our drama program. If you go to most high schools, the drama kids hanging out in a corner, doing their thing. Nothing against the kids for whom drama’s their life, but it shouldn’t be like that – especially in a high school.” Curious on how you get that as a culture, we asked Mr. Corsaro about the formula he used to result in one in four students being involved in this year’s production. “I don’t know if there is a step-by-step formula, maybe it stems from my personality. Recruitment is a big part of what we’ve done. As soon as our show closes until the fall play, I spend all that time recruiting next year’s kids. You never get ‘yes for sure’, especially with our guys, always an ‘I’ll think about it,’ but once you get that, they’re in. That’s happened with this year’s boys. This year we have 59 seniors, and more than half have never done a show, it’s crazy!”

Building Trust

As a drama teacher, Matt thinks of himself as a coach and treats the students as such. “A lot of it is how I talk to them, I come up to them and say ‘I promise you I won’t embarrass you. In fact, I’ll make you look awesome!’ That’s it. That’s all they need to know. I usually ask them ‘How many touchdowns have you scored? Do you remember all those touchdowns? Because you’re gonna remember this show, you will be a dad and tell your kids about this show!’ Then they are in.” By doing a show at your school, students’ lives are intertwined.

When one in four Upper School students is in the cast, along with the hours of time put into the show, that combination an impact on campus life. When speaking about West Side Story, Mary Randel states, “This is one of SFC’s biggest – if not the biggest – casts ever and it is nothing short of amazing to watch students, who may or may not even have known each other beforehand, come together to create art to glorify God. This cast and crew truly exemplify one hand, one heart.”

West Side Story’s Story

Tony (played by Joey Simpson) and Maria (played by Mariah Feghali) head up a vibrant and dynamic group of students who bring this engaging story to life. West Side Story, set in the 1950s, tells a modern day version of Romeo & Juliet, the tale of two rival gangs on the streets of New York and a couple who are caught between loyalty to their friends and love for each other. any of its themes touch on what is relevant to our world today: race, loyalty, revenge, love, hate and acceptance.

West Side Story opens March 17 at the Star Theater in Oceanside and runs until March 25. Purchase your tickets  here!