The McNary High School drama department and the Keizertimes have teamed up to bring the community a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the school’s upcoming production of West Side Story.

Students are writing about their experiences bringing characters and dance numbers to life on the West Side Tales blog, keizertimes.com/westsidestory/, available as part of the Keizertimes website.

Cast members report on their past theater experiences and how they’ve affected their latest roles, the surprising ways in which the material shapes new views on their own lives, and the follies and foibles that happen in between the lines of dialogue.

West Side Story is an update of the William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet telling the tale of two star-crossed lovers caught between rival gangs in the 1950s. McNary’s run of the play, considered by many to be the best musical of all time, begins January 19 at the Celts’ Ken Collins Theater. Tickets go on sale January 9.