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'West Side Story' crew shares performance memories when everything went wrong

Posted at 3:49 PM, Sep 04, 2019

MILWAUKEE — A scene can be rehearsed as much as possible, but that doesn't mean the live performance will turn out the way it was planned.

In live theater, anything can happen. The cast and crew of Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of "West Side Story" are all too familiar with that. So ahead of their opening night in a few weeks, they shared some of their most memorable mishaps on stage:

Jon Rua, Choreographer
"Well, one time in 'SpongeBob' I was supposed to fly in, and I got stuck while I was in the air. So I was dangling for about five minutes."

"I didn’t see how they clipped it, and when I put the sword in, I put it in backward. So the sword never went in. So the entire scene I'm profile and the sword is sticking out this way while I'm staring at Washington."

Liesl Collazo, Maria
"I was late so I had to run on and make up choreography to get into my place.

"We had to go into the audience and dance 'Congo' with the audience, but our mics were still on because we were singing and the rough part was that there was this guy that I started dancing with and (he) starts speaking to me and he starts going, 'I love the show. It's great.' And you can hear it over the speakers and everything and he wouldn’t stop talking for the entire song."

Tara Kelly, Stage Manager
"He just forgot his line and he like was just like lost. And everybody else on stage with him kept trying to feed him lines and he was just so lost that everybody started giggling, you know like church giggles, to the point where they couldn’t get through the scene."

Jim Guy, Properties Director
"There were torches on stage, and so when they went out on stage and lit the torches up the entire torch went ablaze. It was like a campfire. It was really frightening. We had to send a stagehand out on stage in a preview with a fire extinguisher to put out the torches in that scene."

Jeffrey Kringer, Tony
"I'm actually current wearing a knee brace from this accident ... I had a scene where I just walked off the front of the stage. It was just dark. I couldn’t see. I was very committed to my movement, and the next thing I knew I was on my butt in the pit."