A chat with Tom Richart, director of MCC’s ‘West Side Story’

November 9, 2012

By Miranda Beebe

SCOTTVILLE – The production of West Side Story continues tonight and next weekend at the A.O. Auditorium at Mason County Central High School. The cost is $5 for students and seniors, $9 for anyone else.

Thomas Richert is the director of West Side Story, his seventh production at MCC. Some of the other plays he directed include “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Cinderella,” and “Flowers for Algernon.”

Richert has also directed 14 plays at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, and one at West Shore Community College. He has been teaching at MCC for 23 years, including Intro to Theater and Advanced Drama. He says the hardest part for him of directing is trying to coordinate everything, such as lighting, music, actors, publicity, etc. The easiest is working with the actors one on one.

“I chose “West Side Story” because it has a big cast,” he says, adding that there are usually 35 to 50 people that audition for the play. The popular 1950s musical also has challenging dance numbers and songs. “I like to challenge my students.”

MCC director of bands Tom Thomas will be the musical conductor, and Ingrid Bond is the choreographer. Students do their own makeup, run the lighting and sound. They also change the set, which has three main units. Overall the cast will rehearse for about eight weeks, and perform two student shows. Music Theatre International owns the rights to West Side Story.

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