By Kathy Collins

The Florida Academy of Performing Arts’ (FAOPA) Showcase Players will present West Side Story on Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 11 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 12 at 2 and 7 p.m. The performances will take place at The Barn located at 11349 Bloomingdale Ave.

Tickets are on sale now for $10. Tickets at the door are cash only.

FAOPA is a non-profit established by Music Showcase of Brandon several years ago. It is designed to raise funds to further support the performing arts in the area. The goal of FAOPA is to support the arts through programs offered at the academy as well as offering scholarships to students as they continue their performing arts education in our classrooms, theatre and beyond.

Heather Stump Ochalek, owner of Music Showcase, said, “We have always been very passionate about supporting the arts and try to do so whenever possible. We believe that the arts improve academic performance, spark creativity and innovation, and enhance a person’s overall health. Our theatre department is a strong program where we focus on character development, acting techniques, improvisation, audition prep, vocal strengthening, and much more. Students also assist with set design, costuming and marketing. We expose these students to every aspect of the theatre, as well as mentoring them to ensure individual progress.”

“We have had parents share that theatre has opened a window to another world for their child,” added Ochalek.

West Side Story is a musical inspired by Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The story is set in the Upper West in the 1950s. The musical explores the rivalry between revial gangs.

West Side Story is directed by Barrington Middle School Chorale Director, Miguel Oquendo. The cast is comprised of more than 40 middle and high school students from the community who participate in FAOPA’s Showcase Players program. The students have been rehearsing since September. Visit www.musicshowcaseonline.com.