Homer High School’s ‘Guys and Dolls’ shows begin Friday

Homer High School’s spring musical, “Guys and Dolls,” opens Friday evening at 7 p.m. at the Homer Mariner Theater. On Saturday there are performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

There are 48 high school students participating in the show and 10 community members contributing to the orchestra, including several students. Several other community members are contributing to the production, including Kyle Schneider as choir instructor and director; Jennifer Norton as stage director; Beth Schneider as a primary assistant; Maura Jones in choreography; and Shari Daugherty in costumes.

Tech week for the show started on Saturday with a rehearsal scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., though it didn’t last quite that long. On Sunday, senior William Bradshaw, playing Sky Masterson, said things have been going really well and it’s been fun as usual.

“Things are finally starting to come together. We just had a 12-hour rehearsal yesterday so it’s been a little nerve-wracking,” he said. Rehearsal are scheduled every day of tech week leading up to the performances on the weekend.

“We’re making a ton of progress still,” Rebecca Trowbridge, who is playing Sarah Brown, said. “Tech week is when everything really comes together, which is exciting.”

The story follows two sets of couples, Bradshaw said.

“There’s Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown and Nathan Detroit and Adelaide. There are a lot of details about money and betting and traveling to Havana, Cuba. You know, now that I think about it, it’s a really, long complicated story.

“In the end, people fall in love without expecting it. People fall out of love and back into it without expecting it. I guess people will just have to come watch it to see what it’s all about.”

The other performers agreed.

Bradshaw said he’s been dedicated to the musicals through all of his years at the high school, although in his freshman year they didn’t have a performance due to the COVID pandemic. He will be headed to Southern Utah University next year and plans to major in a trio of music, education and math but hopes to engage in theater and performance opportunities while there also.

“I like tech week,” Trowbridge said. “It’s always one of my favorite parts of getting ready for the performance because we’re on stage, we have sets, we have costumes. We’re starting to move everything more quickly. I always enjoy it.”

Both Bradshaw and Trowbridge said the community provides many other opportunities for performing, especially through Pier One Theatre.

The students said they’re thankful for all the assistance the are receiving from adult volunteers who are contributing to stage crew, orchestra and backstage food provisions. “They help us with delicious meals every day of tech week,” Trowbridge said.

Senior Brenna Cox’s primary role in the performance is in the mission band. She said for the band scenes Schneider wants the performers to play real instruments. As of Saturday that hadn’t been decided yet. She said most of the students are in choir and not band. Cox said in addition to the musical she is looking forward to the high school’s upcoming solo and ensemble performance event in April. The state-level event will take place in May.

The scenes featuring the most dance are the musical numbers of “Havana” and “Hot Box.”

Assistant director Beth Schneider said tech week is busy but it’s fun. “It’s fun to be able to share stage tricks with the kids, things like, ‘if you can see the audience, the audience can see you.’ There’s a lot of learning going on and they put a lot of effort into it,” she said.

The students contribute to more than just the rehearsals. For example, performer Finley Stineff also provided the sketches for the sets, Schneider said.

“Guys and Dolls” debuted as a Broadway musical in 1950. A film version starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine came out in 1955.