'Guys and Dolls' ends Prescott High School stage season with a bang
PRESCOTT - The Prescott High School Fine Arts Department decided to finish its stage season with a must-see production of "Guys and Dolls."
"It's full of lots of bright, colorful costumes and excellent dancing," said Dyson Posey, a senior who stars as Sky Masterson. "It's a blast whether you're on or off the stage."
"Guys and Dolls" opens tonight at 7 p.m. in the Ruth Street Theater on the high school campus.
"We did this seven years ago, and it is my favorite musical," said Louisa Nelson, who directs the two-hour production. "It just makes me feel happy, and the kids love it."
"Guys and Dolls" opened on Broadway in November 1950 and was an immediate musical hit.
The costumes, which Nelson designed and in some cases made, are indeed bright, colorful and authentic for the 1950s New York City setting of the story.
The stage sets take you from the streets of New York to the Hot Box dance club to Havana.
Nathan Detroit, played by Ethan Kirschbaum, needs money for a dice game, and he bets Sky Masterson that Masterson cannot get missionary Sarah Brown, played by Breanne DeMenna, to go to Havana with him. The play centers on the antics of Detroit dodging his fiancée of 14 years, Adelaide, played by Audrey Roberts, and Masterson's pursuit of Brown.
"I have wanted to play Adelaide my entire life," Roberts said. "She's kind of like me - a really happy, smiley kind of outgoing showgirl."
The dialogue is snappy, the music snappier, and the dancing is all over the stage. Seventy high school girls auditioned for the 10 Hot Box and Havana dance roles.
"The dancers have some really hard dances," said Summer Hinton, owner of Summer's Dance Works, who choreographed the dance scenes. "Most of the guys had never even danced before, but they really got into it."
Rehearsals for the musical comedy started at the end of January, and Hinton also worked with the dancers every Saturday for eight weeks.
"There are 31 musical cues," said Matthew Kiesling, musical and technical director. Kiesling conducts the music from the orchestra pit with the OrchExtra computer program.
Many of the cast and crew recently talked about the play with a bit of nostalgia. Hinton said she watched her son, Reese, and Posey grow up together, and she created a brief solo dance for the two friends.
Nelson has taught and directed many of the student cast since they were PHS freshmen.
"I promised Dyson that when he was a senior, we'd do 'Guys and Dolls,'" she said. "He auditioned for Sky and got the part."
And Roberts said that she has grown up with a lot of her fellow cast members.
"We've got some really good chemistry up there," Roberts said.
The 55 cast members seem to have as much fun performing together as the audience has watching them.
DeMenna, who plays missionary Sarah Brown, sings, dances, acts and performs a convincing drunk scene.
"I'm used to playing drunks or quirky characters," DeMenna said. "The hard part was playing someone prim and proper. And I've never been a romantic lead before."
"Most musicals have some romance in them," Nelson said. "But this show has it in spades."
Additional performances start at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 15-16. Tickets cost $10 and are sold at the theater box office, in the Prescott High School front office, and at the door the night of performances.