TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central High School’s antiquated auditorium was the biggest challenge to making a student production of “Guys and Dolls” look and sound professional, said the show’s music director.
Nevertheless the 45-member cast, their crew and pit orchestra, are managing to pull it off with aplomb.
“It’s so different than last year’s show, ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’” said Tamara Grove, Central choir director and the show’s music director. “There’s more energy, comedy, the music’s fun, the tempos are fast, the transitions from scene to scene are so smooth — and the kids really mastered that.
“I think the biggest thing is it brings about their senses of humor. And they are able to elaborate with the script because it is a comedy and they get it,” she said.
The show opened Nov. 14 and continues today through Sunday in the Central auditorium. It revolves around missionary Sarah Brown’s efforts to reform gambler Sky Masterson, nightclub performer Miss Adelaide and floating crap game operator Nathan Detroit in 1950s Times Square.
“A lot of the students are commenting on how fun it would be to live for a time in that era,” Grove said. “It really shows in their ability to portray the era.”
She said Central’s version of the classic musical — known for songs like “Luck Be A Lady” and “A Bushel And A Peck” — was inspired by a professional theater production she and director Marilyn Tilley saw in Cleveland.
“I liked the smooth transitions and the creativity with sets and the utilization of minimal set pieces,” Grove said. “For instance, the set piece they used for the entrance to the Hot Box Club is also used for the sewer scene. When it’s not lit, it looks like a sewer pipe.”
She said the Central production is making do without storage, wing or fly space to house set pieces and create compelling effects. And it’s renting lights instead of using existing light cans that date back to the 1950s.
But she said the students’ abilities make up for any technical shortcomings.
“We have so many students who are so talented, and to have a show that can give so many of them even small roles is really rewarding,” she said.
Tickets are $12 for students and $17 for adults at mynorthtickets.com. For more information, call the Central box office at 933-3573.