When the West Side Came to Town

I whistled a brief line from the song, “A Boy Like That.” Maeve turned to me and said, “I know that. Where’s it from?” Unless Maeve is a closet musical-geek (which I doubt), I find it hard to believe that she would recognize a very very minor tune from the epic musical West Side Story. Then again, that is exactly what I’m hoping for: the universal appeal of one of the greatest musicals of all time.

Back in November 2007, I started floating the idea of producing West Side Story at Middlebury College in the Spring of 2009. And now, I am a short few months into a long process of realizing the production.

And I’ve been pushing hard for an early start to what will be an epic process. But a friend asked me straight up: “You won’t be the director. You won’t be the star. Why the hell do you care so much about this?” Well, to tell you the truth, I want to leave my mark on Middlebury College. And I know no better way to combine my knowledge of Middlebury’s non-academic world with a passion for music and theater. I also have a keen eye for a challenge.

One of the toughest parts so far has been recruitment. I want the best and brightest Middlebury students to be a part of the production because this will be a student production. And my first job has been finding a director, music director, and choreographer. I am two for three. But identifying and asking students has been tough to persuade people it’s a worthwhile project. Furthermore, it’s a trying process for me to “cold call” students for technical roles as well. Funding, unlike the real world, is a little easier. But it still smells oddly familiar, and I love it.