I Was a Tweenage Hoodlum

A group of eleven year olds in Lower Hutt performing the full, unabridged version of West Side Story.

Stephen Sondheim has just died, which is a good excuse to add this essay I wrote in 2019 about a whole bunch of pre-teens putting on a surprisingly good rendition of West Side Story, and the inspiring and unusual teacher who made it happen.

Published at NZ culture/news site The Spinoff, this was a big project in which I tracked down a bunch of people I hadn’t spoken to for decades, and some other people I’d never met before.

“Incredible piece. Absolutely outstanding.” – a kind stranger on twitter


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