BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee Middle School students will soon take to the stage, entering the world of gamblers in New York in the mid-20th century.
Guys and Dolls, a musical, will be performed by the students on Friday and Saturday, February 2 and 3, at 7:00 p.m.
“My team and I decided it would be a good year to revisit a golden-age musical, and Guys and Dolls is certainly a classic,” said director Ryan Albrecht.
The middle school students perform one show a year, often selecting “junior” versions of popular plays and musicals.
The junior musicals are typically shorter and better fit the needs and skills of the young actors.
“There are certain challenges associated with performing Guys and Dolls with a middle school cast, most of which spring from the script itself being over 70 years old,” Albrecht noted.
In order to prepare for their roles, the students watch the film and study older versions, as well as the latest recording by Broadway stars, to connect the current generation with the stories and songs from decades ago.
The students diligently put in hours of work prior to their performance, and even before rehearsals, to make sure they understand what is expected of them.
“While it may take a little longer for the cast to warm up to the older script, within a few weeks of rehearsals, they are fully invested and eager to share the story through performance,” Albrecht said.
Before the students can get to that point, though, they must audition for the musical.
While some students have been through the process before, there are some who have never had the opportunity to perform.
“They are a mix of excited and anxious to audition, but bravely see it through,” Albrecht said. “Bonds form quickly across the cast, and it is very normal to see an eighth-grader helping a sixth-grader with dance steps, or friendships developing across grades. They work hard but have a great time doing it.”
That’s all Albrecht wants for the young students: to have fun and develop a love for the arts.
With each new experience and challenge, the middle schoolers gain confidence and become more willing to step outside of their comfort zone, he said.
“Getting up on a stage in front of your peers and performing can be a scary thing and I’m proud of every student who is willing to try and to work at it,” Albrecht said.
Tickets for the February 2 and 3 performances go on sale on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 a.m. online at maumee.hometownticketing.com. Tickets are $10.00 per person and all audience members must have a ticket to enter the show.