The Jets, in a scene from the Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts production of the musical 'West Side Story.'

'West Side Story'

The Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts will present its final Magic of Theatre summer camp performance, "West Side Story," at 2 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Crater High School Performing Arts Center, 655 N. Third St., Central Point.

This is the eighth summer that OCPA, a year-round theater school for youth in the Rogue Valley, has offered theater summer camps.

Camp organizers believe that a complete education involves knowledge of the arts and participation in them. They also believe that all young people should have the opportunity to experience the theater arts.

"West Side Story" offered that opportunity along with a challenge for the students. Young actors had to learn intricate dance routines and songs while learning about New York City gangs in the late 1950s. Some cast members had never sung or danced on stage before.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Caroline Shaffer is directing "West Side Story." Shaffer was the camp's acting instructor. Federico Behncke is the musical director and voice teacher.

Aisha Wand is the choreographer.

Assisting as stage manager is Portland State University theater student Laura Rogers. Southern Oregon University theater student Danielle Pecoff serves as assistant acting instructor. SOU music performance student Joseph Yungen provides piano accompaniment.

"Our camps are designed so that participants learn the process of theater from educators and performers while developing self-esteem and communication skills through creativity and teamwork," OCPA artistic director Jeff Tabler says. "As usual, OCPA student veterans came together to support the newcomers, creating a positive learning experience for everyone."

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students 12 and under. Tickets are available at Musichead, Medford; Paddington Station, Ashland and at the door.

See oregonconservatory.org or call 776-9118 for information.

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