Play It Cool

SALAMANCA – An American classic will make its debut at the newly renovated Ray Evans Seneca Theater next month.

The theater’s first production since undergoing a series of upgrades will be “West Side Story,” with a run from July 17-20.

“West Side Story” is a modernized American adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which has been staged in 1960s New York City, and features music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. According to Sally Marsh, who is assisting with tickets and advertising for the show, the Ray Evans Seneca Theater’s adaptation is taking an even more contemporary approach to the musical.

“We’ve updated it to make more modern than the original; it’s sort of a 2014 version,” she said. “The cast includes kids and adults from all over the place. People from Olean, Jamestown, Bradford and Springville are all involved. The kids are awesome, and I’m really impressed with their talent.”

Next month’s production will be the first musical to be staged at the theater in four years, Marsh said. During this time period, she said the theater made upgrades and renovations to its seats, as well as its lighting and sound systems. In the interim, the theater was used primarily for movie screenings hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

“That’s what’s so great about getting the theater back,” she said. “This is the first production we’ve done since the renovation, and we’re kind of excited about it. After getting the seats fixed, and the lights and sound updated, getting the theater open to the public again has been a goal of the board.”

Rehearsals for the production are currently being held at the theater from 6-9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The presentation times will be at 7:30 p.m. from July 17-20, with 2 p.m. matinee performances being held on July 19 and July 20.

Tickets are $15, and can be purchased in advance from the Salamanca Public Library and Togi’s Restaurant in Bradford, Pa. The Ray Evans Seneca Theater production of “West Side Story” is being directed by Todd Wagner, and choreography is being written and taught by Meaghan Randall.

A production of “RENT,” which will include a majority of the same cast, has also been announced by the theater to run from Aug. 14-17.