Northeast natives Mary Guarnieri of Lawndale and Scott Garvin of Chalfont shined as Maria and Tony in Central High School’s production of West Side Story on Saturday evening.
This production of West Side Story marks the second year that Central has returned to its musical theater roots and what has sprouted is a professional-level production. Actors, choreography, orchestra, set design, costumes – all punched up for this performance under the direction of Alan Bronstein and produced by Stephen Wilenski.
Guarnieri and Garvin gave powerful performances in this production. Guarnieri captured the essence of Maria’s short travel from the innocence of falling in love to the tragic last scene where she has learned to hate. Guarnieri’s Maria sparked emotional reactions from audience members who were drawn into her performance both in acting and singing highlighted by her beautiful rendition of “ I Feel Pretty .”
Garvin, cast against type as Tony, made the character his own as the bad boy gone good drawn back into the tragedy of the streets after he too falls in love. The duets of “Tonight” and “One Hand One Heart” by Guarnieri and Garvin thrilled the audience. Supporting cast members from the Northeast included Alexa Wilder of Pine Valley, who played Graziella; Brandon Kim of Rhawnhurst, who played Big Deal’ Ginny Brubaker of Lawncrest, who played Anybodys; and Jahvaska Thomas of Burholme, who played Diesel.
The live orchestra conducted by Benjamin Blazer consisted of current students and alumni of Central contributed to the professional atmosphere of the production. Seniors Guarnieri and Garvin are heading to university and maybe someday Broadway.
Disclosure: Student Mary Guarnieri is a family friend of post author G. E. Reutter.