With theater unusable, Mount Greylock staging "Guys and Dolls" at Williams


WILLIAMSTOWN -- With their auditorium currently decommissioned for theater, Mount Greylock Regional School students are embracing the chance to strut their stuff in a professional venue.

The students' production of "Guys and Dolls," with showings Friday and Saturday night, has been moved to the Williams College ‘62 Center for Theatre & Dance.

"It's unbelievable," said Nicole Jones, a sophomore from Williamstown, during rehearsal Wednesday. "It's such a great facility. Everything is so nice."

"I'm afraid I might break something," she added.

Williamstown's department of inspection services ordered the school to discontinue the auditorium's use for theater this winter after concerns over its asbestos fire curtain.

Officials hope to have the curtain replaced as soon as possible, but it's unclear when that will happen.

"We don't have an answer yet," Principal Mary MacDonald said. "Current estimates are for about $85,000, and we have lots of things we need to think about financially next year."

The Lanesborough Elementary School has already offered to host the spring musical, she said.

Berkshire Community College and the ‘62 Center both offered to host "Guys and Dolls," MacDonald said. The latter was chosen because of its proximity to school.

This weekend's production of Frank Loesser's classic musical features 37 students in Grades 7 through 12 on stage, in the tech crews, and in the orchestra. Chorus teacher Kate Caton provided vocal direction, band teacher Lyndon Moors is leading the orchestra, and the show's choreographer is Ann Marie Rodriguez.

"There's not anything automatic," director Jeffrey Welch said. "Every show is its own animal, especially when you can't use your own auditorium."

The show is his 15th with the school, Welch said, and so far, he hasn't done the same show twice.

"There's a lot of shows I want to do," he said.

Jones, who plays the female lead, said her and other students were star-struck by the theater's size and even the dressing rooms. And Jacob Paul, a junior from Williamstown who plays the male lead, noted the venue has an actual orchestra pit, which Mount Greylock's auditorium lacks.

Aaron Ziemer and Zach Leamon, both seniors from Williamstown, were handling the theater's state-of-the-art lighting during rehearsal.

"There are more lighting fixtures in the corner of backstage than we have in our entire theater," Ziemer said.

Steven Jayko, a senior from New Ashford, showed off a digital mixer that changes levels with a push of the button.

"It's a huge difference from what we usually use," he said.

Welch recognized Williams College staff's work, including technical director and production manager Nate Wiessner and theater department production manager Cosmo Catalano.

"They've been nothing but welcoming and accommodating," he said.

Rehearsals at the college only started this week, Welch said, with students having to use the cafeteria before. Now, the show is undergoing a "radical transformation."

"Now that they're in their costumes, they're starting to really grow into their characters," he said.

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If you go...

What: Mount Greylock production of "Guys and Dolls"

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Williams College ‘62 Center for Theatre & Dance

Cost: $6 for students/seniors; $8 for adults


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