SANDPOINT — There’s no business like show business, as Sandpoint High School students are quickly learning.
With costumes to design, choreography to practice and lighting to perfect, all 66 participants in the high school’s production of “Guys and Dolls,” a 1950s play and film and a classic of the musical genre about gamblers in New York City. The production is under the supervision of Sandpoint High School drama teacher Jeannie Hunter, but other than that, it’s entirely managed by the students themselves.
That includes talented individuals of all varieties — like Michelle Barley, who is in charge of costuming all the actors. She said she’s been spending her time lately finding the fedoras, dresses and suits to effectively portray the hustle and bombast of the play. It’s a challenging task to find the appropriate attire, and she will likely need to modify the main characters’ costumes before production begins. However, she said she enjoys contributing her talents to an element that will have a big impact on the show’s quality.
“I’ve always liked watching costumes on stage and seeing how they can add to an actor’s performance,” she said.
Alexandra Krames fills another off-stage but necessary role as the assistant director and stage manager. At rehearsals, she issues instructions to the actors on stage and ensures the action follows the script. During the performances themselves, she’ll hang out in the tech booth taking notes whenever something doesn’t go quite according to plan.
“This job can be a challenge because these are all my peers, and sometimes I have to yell at them,” Krames said with a laugh. “But usually they don’t mind because they want to be here.”
It’s understandable that the production will need plenty of refinement before the scheduled performances on May 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25. According to Hunter, this is likely the most ambitious production that Sandpoint High School has ever undertaken. The musical numbers will be huge spectacles with choreography by Taryn Quayle and musical direction by Jon Brownell. Some of the bigger set pieces involve cast members leaping and tumbling around the stage, and that will no doubt take a little practice to perfect.
Good thing the cast and crew are prepared to give the show everything they’ve got. The cast consists of students from seniors all the way down to the freshman class. In fact, two of the show’s leads, Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown, are played by younger students Greg Marks and Izzy Brown.
“Getting the confidence to perform on stage can be a challenge since I’m a freshman and a lot of people here are more experienced than me,” Brown said.
According to Hunter, the show was made possible thanks to a $1,000 Panhandle Alliance For Education grant earned last year. Show runners will likely need to raise a little more money to meet all the production costs of the show, which they intend to accomplish through sponsorships and program advertisements.
In the meantime, the cast and crew will be investing plenty of time and energy into making “Guys and Dolls” one of the most spectacular live performances the high school has ever hosted.
“We have a big cast with a lot of great people on it,” Hunter said. “We can’t wait for people to see this in May.”