Behind-the-scenes look at West Seneca West Senior High School’s production of ‘Anything Goes’

By Natalie Maloy

See all of the potential West Seneca West High School students bring to the stage with their upcoming production of “Anything Goes.”

“We choose our musicals based on the students we have in the program and go from there,” explained Keith Ersing, the chorus teacher and musical director at West. “Auditions for the musical are open to anybody in the building. Over 100 individuals come to try out I would say. First those individuals come in and sing a 16- to 24-bar cut of music in front of my fellow directors in a closed audition. Then there is an open audition, which is the dance call. From there we create a call back list and choose our cast off of that.”

What’s a musical without a cast? Brooke Antilla, a junior at West, provided a quick look into the show this year. “I walked into auditions this year and didn’t know the show. I was nervous but I have a good head on my shoulders and I gave what I had,” she said. During her freshman year, Antilla was in the ensemble, sophomore year she was a lead and this year she was cast as an angel, a dance role. “When I found out I was an angel I was very excited because I don’t dance as much as I used to and it brings back good memories.”

Adding to the excitement of musical season, “Anything Goes” has been nominated for a Kenny Award. “The Kenny Awards are an education series at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. There are 20 to 25 schools in the area that apply for it and then they choose 10 schools. Fortunately, West was one of the 10 schools this year,” Ersing explained. The recipient of the “Best Musical” award receives a $5,000 grant to the department. West previously won the top prize at the Kenny Awards in Ersing’s second year of teaching and before that in 1994, using the grant on the musical the following year.

“The Kenny Awards are kind of like a kids’ Tony Awards. It is a great experience that I get to do this with my friends,” Antilla said.

“The Kenny Awards make me nervous but it’s such an honor to be able to be a part of it,” added Penny Sergi, another junior at West participating in the musical. “I’m super excited about performing on the Shea’s stage with all the people watching me.”

“Anything Goes” will be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 7-10 at West Seneca West Senior High School, located at 3330 Seneca St. There will also be a matinee on Saturday at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 each for the evening shows and $7 for the Saturday matinee. Reserve your seats by calling 677-3421.

Natalie Maloy is a Community Relations intern for the West Seneca Central School District.

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