This week’s production of “Les Misérables,” at Cooperstown Central School will be the sixth and final musical co-directed by husband and wife pair Sammy Dallas and Barbara Bayes at the school.
Sammy and Barbara Bayes both have professional theatre backgrounds, an industry that Sammy Bayes still works in full time.
Sammy Dallas Bayes was in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof and became the go-to choreographer for the Broadway show and its revivals.
Nominated for a Tony Award for Choreography in 1969 for his work on “Canterbury Tales,” he has also directed plays locally for the Orpheus Theatre and the Leatherstocking Theatre Company. Bayes identifies primarily as a choreographer, director and writer.
Barbara Bayes is a dancer, singer and actress. She has performed in Orpheus Theatre and Leatherstocking Theatre company productions, and says she would like to do more theatre work, now that their youngest daughter is preparing to leave for college next year.
The Bayes began directing CCS’ musicals after Alexa, their eldest daughter, entered high school.
“Our kids were very involved with the arts,” said Barbara Bayes, who said the school asked them to get involved at a time that was also good for her and her husband. “I think the timing just worked out.”
“Les Misérables” is the sixth play the Bayes have directed together at CCS. Their previous shows were “Grease” in 2008, “West Side Story” in 2009, “Cats” in 2010, “Fiddler on the Roof in 2011 and “Footloose,” in 2012.
“The challenge is not to go insane,” said Sammy Bayes, when asked what the difference between directing professional actors and high school students was, saying that it took him a few years to adjust to the fact that teenagers and adults work differently.
Nevertheless, Bayes said he still holds the students to the same standards he does his professional actors.