Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From Gridiron to Gang Fighter

From Gridiron to Gang Fighter

Burlington, Vermont - November 5, 2007

The Vermont Ice Storm was hot this year, tallying a fifteen game undefeated streak and running away with the Empire Football League championship.

But for one of the team's defensive ends, the plays on-field were preparation for some rough and tumble plays on-stage. Travis Hathaway says, "It's fun. I still get to be rough."

Hathaway is an Ice Storm player who balanced practice with rehearsals for the Lyric Theatre Company's presentation of West Side Story.

Hathaway explains, "It worked out perfectly. We have rehearsals for the show Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. And I have practice for the Ice Storm Tuesdays, Thursdays, and games on Saturdays. So I had a full schedule!"

The athlete plays "Diesel," a gang thug from the "Jets" in this musical re-telling of Romeo and Juliet. He tussles with the rival "Sharks" gang. It's Montagues versus Capulets and the football player's blocks and tackles helped him prepare for the choreographed fight scenes.

The musical's choreographer, Maggi Hayes, says, "[You will notice] in the fight scenes, Travis is very good at getting around and moving."

Hathaway also sings in one of the fifty year old Broadway show's many familiar songs, "Gee, Officer Krupke." But what will the rest of the Ice Storm make of this singing and dancing lineman?

Hathaway chuckles, "They're definitely going to see me in a whole new light being a dancer. Then again, I am a rough, mean man onstage, so I get to put the hurt on a couple people."

Hathaway and his castmates perform West Side Story starting Thursday and running through Sunday night. There are still tickets available to the show, through the Flynn box office.

Lyric wants its audiences to be the stars with the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, giving donations to the nonprofit in the Flynn lobby that will go to the Club to keep kids off the streets. That's just what someone should have done with those Sharks and those Jets.

For more information on the Lyric Theatre Company and West Side Story, follow the link to the group's website that you will find at the top of this article.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

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