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Lathrop High staging West Side Story
pic lhs-westside-1
Megan Shelton as ‘Maria’ performs the West Side Story tune “I Feel Pretty” during Monday’s rehearsals at the Lathrop High. From right, she’s joined by Ashley Jamie, Alexis Aguilar, and Cecilia Fernandez. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
LATHROP – “West Side Story” is a 1950s Broadway production turned into an award-winning 1961 musical film of the same name.

In order to handle the role of ‘Maria,’ Lathrop High junior Megan Shelton watched the film directed by Robert Wise / Jerome Robbins starring Natalie Wood for the very first time.

“I enjoyed it,” she said on Monday. “The movie helped me with the characterization (of Maria).”

Shelton has also performed in other school productions, including “Music, Beads and Flowers” and “Murder at the Crooked House.”

Lathrop High’s “West Side Story” also stars Anthony Jackson as ‘Tony,’ Iliana Martinez as ‘Anita,’ Martin Zavala as ‘Bernardo,’ Elijah Cash as ‘Chino,’ Myles Romo as ‘Riff,’ Tonissa Prado as ‘Anybodys,’ Nick Vaughn as ‘Arab,’ and Daniel Lorentz as ‘Baby John.’

The play premieres at 7:15 p.m., Friday, at the LHS Theater. Cost is $3 for students with an ID and seniors age 55 and older, and $6 for all others.

Performances are also scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday along with the following weekend, April 15-16 (also at 7 p.m.).

The cast of “West Side Story” is part of the school’s Advanced Theater class under the direction of Dianna Puett.

“This is our big production for this term,” she said.

Puett is helped out by volunteer Maggie Prado, who is a 2006 graduate of East Union High currently attending Delta College. She’s studying Performing Arts with plans of transferring to a four-year college in southern California in the fall.

“They’ve been working really hard,” said Prado, who is choreographing the dance sequences. “It was a challenge for them at first, but the kids got it.”

In addition, Megan Cai will take charge of the sound while Gary Singh will be handling the lighting.

For more information, contact Puett at 209-938-6350 or e-mail