Gang warfare and mixed-race relationships are as much of a taboo in some cultures nowadays as they were 60 years ago.
But while they make gritty storylines for a stage show, it’s the songs, energetic dancing and Fifties costumes which make West Side Story memorable for anyone who watches it.
Dot Clarke, who is producing the musical in Chesterfield this week, said: “A lot of people who are coming to see the show say it’s their favourite. It is the old Romeo and Juliet story. I love the show. It is a very dramatic with themes that still have relevance today.”
West Side Story was one of the first shows that her theatre company, Young Inspirations, performed after she launched it over 12 years ago.
“We did it about 11 years ago, only with a younger age group of 10- to 16-year-olds. This time we are doing it with 15- to 20-year olds.
Dot has been able to recycle some of the costumes from the original production, which she has retrieved from a vast collection of clothes and props stored in a single garage at her home in Glapwell. “I have so much stuff that is starting to spill over into the main garage,” she said.
West Side Story marks the start of a busy year of shows for the company. Productions of ‘Allo, ‘Allo in June, Rent and Aristocats in July and Eurobeat in September will keep adult and child members of the company on their toes.
West Side Story runs from Thursday, March 22, to Saturday, March 24.