West Side Story Postponed

La Jolla High School is preparing for showings of the play West Side Story, which is set in the 1950s in New York. In the play, there are two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. In the play they are all set to be in high school. The Jets are originally from the local area while the Sharks immigrated over from Puerto Rico. The two gangs have tensions between each other throughout the show and battle it out in a rumble, or gang fight. Within those gangs are Tony and Maria, who meet at the school prom and instantly fall in love. Tony is friends with the leader of the Jets, Riff, while Maria is sister to the leader of the Sharks, Bernardo meaning they have a complicated relationship.

The play has had some issues surrounding it because a few days ago the San Diego Unified School District decided to call off any “non-essential” activities, which includes theater performances. This is significant because West Side Story is only about a month away from opening meaning the show would have to be postponed.

West Side Story needs all the support it can get from students, parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone who can help spread the word.”

— Ben Jimenez, senior

The people involved with the production are frustrated with the school district’s decision because they are being safe with COVID-19 precautions. They are required to be masked up during rehearsals, get tested weekly, have vaccines and/or negative tests to participate as well as socially distancing the audience members during the performances. 

However, the restriction set forth by the district did not apply to sports. The people involved with the play hope to get recognized as an “essential” activity by the district just like sports because they are working hard to produce the show and also following all COVID-19 precautions to stay safe. On Feb. 9, the school district will decide to rescind the postponement or to stay with it. “West Side Story needs all the support it can get from students, parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone who can help spread the word,” said senior Ben Jimenez. The goal is not to incite tension between athletes and theater admirers but instead to push for equal recognition by the school district. Senior Dante Arminio, who plays Riff, the leader of the Jets said, “The arts are absolutely just as essential as sports, and it’s unfair in the way that we’re being put down even though we’re working just as hard to stay safe from COVID-19.” As a community, we will thrive as we keep the arts alive.