Curtain set to rise on GHS spring musical

Published 12:39 pm Friday, May 3, 2013

As the curtains close on months of preparation, 31 students are hoping that luck be a lady as the Greenville High School Old Gym Players present “Guys and Dolls Jr.”

“Guys and Dolls” is a 1950s-era musical comedy that centers on the high roller Sky Masterson (portrayed by Kenterius Hall), fellow gambler Nathan Detroit (Laun Pryor) and mission worker Sarah Brown (Irina Seale).  When Detroit finds himself $1,000 in the hole, he bets Masterson that he can’t woo Brown in a high-stakes venture that could cost far more than material gain.

The juxtaposition of a bright young cast of talented actors placed within a period piece from the ‘50s isn’t an accidental one.

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For Naomi Pryor, assistant director of “Guys and Dolls Jr.,” the musical proved an opportunity to not only pay homage to the past, but to provide a means for up-and-coming students to express themselves.  And she aims to do so in a way that doesn’t disregard the previous efforts of the Greenville High School stage.

“Previously, Mrs. (Bobbie) Gamble was the theater teacher here years ago, when they were at the old high school. Mr. Henderson, who is our counselor here, was her student and he can tell you that there were huge productions,” Pryor said. “We thought we would try to bring back as much as we could to serve the students who were talented, and they need an outlet, so we’re doing our best.”

Pryor chose “Guys and Dolls” because it’s her favorite production, and it carries the junior suffix because it is a pared down version of the original, allowing the cast to use a CD for music instead of live instrumentation that space would not allow for.

Auditions for the musical began back in January, and the cast has been practicing at least three afternoons each week throughout February, March and April.

In the dozens of practices that would follow those January auditions, Pryor said that watching the students involved in the production blossom into great young actors and actresses has been a reward in and of itself.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to see them come into their own,” Pryor said. “Some of them will get over their fear of stage fright, and then you just watch the transformation of being a little shy and a little scared to just being proud and confident.  It takes more guts than I have to do what these kids do. They sing, they dance, they memorize lines in front of their peers and the community, and they do it without a thought.  And it’s just so impressive to see that happen through the course of practicing.”

The curtain rises on “Guys and Dolls Jr.” at GHS Auditorium Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.