‘Guys and Dolls’ take stage at OHS
Over the weekend Owatonna High School students took their audience back to the 1950s in New York City with three performances of the musical, ‘Guys and Dolls.’
This is not the first time OHS has taken on the production.
“We decided to come back to it because it is a great show. It has been a little over 10 years since we have done it so we figured enough time had gone by and it seemed to fit with the talent pool that we had available to us,” said Theater Director Erik Eitrheim. “We wanted to pick a show that would feature the people we do have the best.”
For this show there were 55 cast members, 10 crewmembers and around 20 members in the pit orchestra.
Rehearsals started after winter break every day after school from around 2:45 p.m. to 5 p.m. In the few weeks right before the show those evenings got longer, a couple of them even lasting until 10 p.m.
Eitrheim likes this show because of the music.
“The music is awesome it is such a wonderful score and there are so many fun songs,” he said. “It is one of those shows as they say within the musical business that you will leave humming a tune and tapping your foot.”
Eitrheim has enjoyed watching the students develop into their characters.
“It is really fun to watch the students take the character and start making it their own. They have been working very hard to bring these characters to life and it is really fun to watch them start coming alive,” he said.
The main challenge for this production has been the tricky transitions.
“Scenically it goes from place to place in a lot of different locations so you need to set up a different set for each of the locations,” he said.
Senior Alyssa Crum has been in four OHS musicals and plays Sarah Brown.
“She is a very religious woman who is in charge of the mission and her whole thing that makes her special is that she is at war with her head and her heart,” Crum said. “She has met this gambler who has made her fall in love and she doesn’t want to allow that to happen because this is not what she saw for herself.”
Crum says she likes playing her character because it gives her a chance to be stern, a quality she does not have herself.
“The people who are in musical productions are the best people you will ever meet,” she said. “It’s tradition. Once you audition for one and you are in it you are hooked.”
Crum added, “I like being a senior in this production and feeling like this is the finale for me. I want to make it the best freshmen year for those kids who just came up and make it a really good senior year for me.”
The main challenge for her for this production has been switching in and out of her character. Crum had a scene where she switched from her stern character into a drunk, loopy girl who is all over a gambler.
“It is really difficult not to allow myself to fall in love with Sky in the beginning. I have to remind myself that I still don’t like him yet in this scene,” she said.
Junior Andrew Peterson plays Sarah Brown’s love interest Sky Masterson.
“He is a very successful gambler and he has always had things come to him very easily… money, girls, whatever and I make a bet with Nathan Detroit that I could not take a certain doll to Havana,” he said. “I sort of finding myself experiencing something new.”
Surprisingly, this is Peterson’s first time on the stage.
“I came back to class after a week of being sick and it was the last day of auditions. On my way out of class the choir director pulled me aside and asked me why I wasn’t doing the musical. He gave me the audition music and I ran through it that day and it just kind of happened,” Peterson said.
Peterson says so far he has enjoyed being able to put his skills to use to perform in front of an audience and working with the other cast members.
“I have to say my favorite people in the whole school are the people in the music and arts departments, they are just awesome people. They have helped me along and to learn the ropes,” he said.
Peterson’s favorite part about this show is the music because he is a big fan of big band jazz. The biggest challenge for him so far has been getting himself to shift over into character and imagine himself as someone else.
Junior Matt Reinhard plays Nathan Detroit and has been in six OHS productions.
“He is trying to run a floating crap game in New York but he is having trouble finding a place. Besides that, he is having some problems with his girlfriend of 14 years who wants to get married,” Reinhard said. “He is loveable and you sort of feel bad for him.”
When asked why he decided to go out for the production he said, “I guess it is just sort of instinct. This is one of the few things I actually enjoy about high school is doing the plays and acting.”
Reinhard enjoys acting because it gives him the chance to play someone else.
“I have a lot of fun with my character the whole show,” he said.
The biggest challenge for Reinhard so far has been becoming comfortable singing in front of an audience.
“I’ve never been in choir before so this is my first opportunity to sing in front of people. It was scary at first but now I have gotten used to it and I am much more comfortable with it” he said.