‘West Side Story’ to open first night of Bloomfield Hills High’s new performing arts center

By: Mike Koury | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 10, 2016


BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Bloomfield Hills High School, 4200 Andover Road, plans to introduce its new performing arts center to the public with an adaptation of “West Side Story.”

The school will hold a special red carpet event beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, on the musical’s opening night. The show will start at 7:30 p.m.

Performances will run Feb. 11-13, with all shows beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Theater Director Tina Greenlee said she decided to go with “West Side Story” for the production this year because it has a large cast and beautiful music, and most of the characters are young, so she believed it would be easier for the cast to relate to those characters.

The students have rehearsed since October. Greenlee said they have been doing an awesome job with the musical, and they’ve really gotten into how to create a character that feels authentic to them.

She complimented the older students on how they’ve taken on a leadership role and helped the newcomers who haven’t performed before.

“We have a lot of really awesome kids that have been in shows,” she said. “A lot of upperclassmen, and they’ve been great mentors to the kids. So I think that’s been a huge asset to the show. You know, working at building a real camaraderie with each other.”

One of those students is Brendan Eathorne, a senior at Bloomfield Hills High, who’s been in productions since his freshman year and who will be taking on the role of Riff in the musical.

Eathorne said that over the months of rehearsals, he’s definitely seen a progression with the cast and how the students have grown into their roles, including himself.

“It’s definitely cool to see that we’re at this point where you can just get up there and have fun with it,” he said. “Try new things and going through this experience with your character and your friends onstage — it’s pretty cool.”

Though he’s performed in several plays at the school before, Eathorne said he still does get some nerves before going onstage, but that it’s all part of the experience of performing.

“There’s a good amount of nerves before a show,” he said. “If you’re not nervous, you’re not doing it right. That gives you a lot of energy to bring to your performance.”

Greenlee said the most rewarding part of all of this has been seeing the growth of the kids over the months since rehearsals began in October.

“Just seeing them work together and understand it’s an ensemble,” she said. “That it’s not about one or two characters. That’s it’s about working together to achieve a piece of theater.”

Tickets to “West Side Story” cost $10 to $12 and can be purchased at etix.com.