New Albany High School is bringing the west side to town.

New Albany High School is bringing the west side to town.

The high school drama department will present a modernized version of "West Side Story" at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, Nov. 6 to 8, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9.

Managing director Melissa Schill said the story, which stars 38 New Albany students and a few parents and teachers, has been modernized with language and a graffiti background.

Junior Lori Kelly stars as Maria and said she likes both versions of the musical.

"This is really fun because I've seen the movie before," she said.

Senior Andrea Stahlman, who plays Anita, said she also has seen the original version, but the modernized version has its advantages.

"I've never seen it on stage, but I've seen the movie," she said. "It's hard to tell how (this version) will come out. I think it will help the audience to relate more."

Students began rehearsing Sept. 15, and it is Kelly's first acting experience.

"I run track so I never have time," she said. "I'm very excited to sing and dance in this."

Catching on to acting was a little difficult at first, Kelly said.

"It's different than real life. Musicals aren't very real because in real life people just don't break into song," she said.

Kelly has adjusted, though, and said the ending is her favorite part.

"I like the end where Tony dies," she said. "I'm yelling at everyone about the stupidity of gang war."Stahlman favors "America" and said she's looking forward to the rumble scene.

"I wish I was in it," she said. "It's really cool."

Senior Abraham Jimenez won't take the stage, but his presence will be realized during the production.

For his senior project, Jimenez painted the graffiti scene that serves as the background for the musical.

"My art teacher recommended me to (director) Mr. Lemberg. I'm really into graffiti," he said.

Jimenez said he became interested in graffiti in his home state.

"I used to live in California until I was 13," he said. "In sixth grade graffiti was a big thing in the community."

Tickets for the show cost $6 for senior citizens and students and $10 for general admission and may be purchased at the door.

jnoblit@thisweeknews.com