NEGAUNEE - Since the late 1960s, students at the Negaunee High School have not had a chance to put on a school musical. But all that's about to change.
This April, students will treat the community to a production of the classic musical "Guys and Dolls," with performances set for April 14, 15, and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the new Negaunee High School auditorium.
"We had no auditorium," said choral teacher Connie Lindblom. "There were really no facilities."
Negaunee High School senior Emma Collins, 17, auditions for the production “Guys and Dolls” this week at the Negaunee High School as district music teachers listen. The musical is set for April 14, 15 and 16. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Students auditioning for “Guys and Dolls,” the first full musical production put on by the Negaunee High School since the 1960s, sing through some songs from the show before going into individual auditions. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
A few years ago, however, the community supported a millage to fund improvements to the Negaunee schools, including the 550-seat auditorium.
"When we finally got an auditorium, a lot of my students were really interested," Lindblom said.
With support from the district's music teachers and parents, Lindblom decided to move forward with the production.
Although Lindblom said she comes from a theater background and is president of the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council, building a new theater program at the high school will take some work.
"It's all uncharted territory," she said.
Luckily, "Guys and Dolls" is a popular classic show, with the roles matching the personalities of a number of Lindblom's students.
"This class was made for 'Guys and Dolls,'" she said.
The musical, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, premiered on Broadway in 1950, with a film version starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando coming out in 1955.
The story follows the adventures of two gangsters, Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson as they attempt to set up a high-stakes craps game, amid objections from their love interests Miss Adelaide, the leader of a nightclub dance act, and Sarah Brown, a member of a religious mission band, respectively.
"I love the show," Lindblom said. "It's a good starter show."
With a cast of 50 or more students, plus a full pit orchestra also made up of students, the musical will be a full-scale production, full of classic songs.
"We'd really love the community's support," Lindblom said.
Auditions were held this week for the various roles in the play, with students interested in taking on roles in the production performing a short vocal piece and reading lines from the script.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.