feature experienced senior class members, this production had quite a few underclassmen in key roles. Their inexperience, however, had no bearing on the finished product. Junior Erin Hines had only a small role in last year’s production of Mary Poppins when she landed one of the leads this year as Sarah Brown.
“Last year was filled with talented, experienced people and this year we had all new, fresh faces,” explained Hines. “The entire process was such a thrill. Everyone in the cast was amazing and so supportive and it became like a family. It all just clicked…I couldn’t have asked [to work with] a better group of people.”
The storyline capitalizes on well-known stereotypes of love, marriage and the often-complicated relationships between men and women, and uses these to create a thread of humor throughout the show that was truly enjoyable. The dialogue and accents added to that humor, retaining Runyon’s unique mix of highly formal language and slang. While the entire cast tackled the challenge in a way that was truly enjoyable for the audience, two roles in particular; Sky Masterson played by sophomores Brian Costello and Adelaide, played by Nicole Orlando, were the highlights of the storyline. While accents are typically stumbling blocks for the most experienced actors, that was not the case for either Orlando or Costello. Both sophomores were able to deliver the humorous one-liners and sarcastic remarks that one would expect from a 1930’s streetwise New Yorker, and in such a way that made the audience forget they were both 15 years old.
The students of Crestwood High School, under the direction of music faculty member Mary Leo, welcomed their audience to streets of Manhattan in an excellent production of Guys and Dolls this past weekend.
Based on the story and characters by Damon Runyon, with Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls ran for 1200 performances when it opened on Broadway in 1950. It earned that year’s Tony Award for Best Musical and in 1955, was adapted to film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.
Set in New York City in the 1930s, Gambler Nathan Detroit tries to find a location for his floating craps game while avoiding one very aggressive police officer, Rusty Charlie. He is eventually forced to make a bet with fellow gambler, Sky Masterson, for the cash he needs to secure the Biltmore Garage for the game. The bet, that Masterson would not be able to convince straight laced missionary sergeant, Sarah Brown to accompany him to Havana, has Detroit convinced that all he needs to do is keep Charlie and his players at bay long enough for Masterson’s failure to be official. Masterson, however, successfully pursues Brown, promising to deliver “one dozen genuine sinners” to her next prayer meeting, unexpectedly falling for her in the process. In the meantime, Detroit’s nightclub performer fiancé, Adelaide, becomes impatient to set a wedding date after having been engaged for 14 years.
While most high school musicals
“The accent was the hardest, and getting the songs perfect was so difficult, but I think everyone did so amazing,” said Orlando. “The chemistry was amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Costello was made for the role of Sky Masterson. Unlike last year’s lovable, supportive character Bert in last year’s production of Mary Poppins, Costello oozed all the confidence of an experienced Manhattan gambler.
“It was such an amazing time with everyone,” added Costello. “I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to work with my peers and friends.”
This musical even had an all-male ensemble –somewhat rare for high school musicals. The ensemble of crapshooters performed their numbers flawlessly –from the city streets and the “Save a Soul” Mission, to the city sewer. Led by sophomore Alex Elsasser as a humorous and very convincing Nicely-Nicely Johnson, and senior David Johnson as the increasingly desperate Nathan Detroit, the boys provided the anchor for the male side of the story.
“It was awesome and nerve wracking” explained Johnson “I’d never sang or done a [major] play before this one; I wasn’t expecting to get a big role. The other leads were awesome and I couldn’t have asked for a better cast.”
The Hot Box Girls ensemble, led by Orlando, were another excellent addition to the show; providing the perfect complement to the male crapshooters in numbers like Take Back your Mink and Bushel and a Peck.
The Pit Orchestra contributed to the overall atmosphere of the show and had the challenge of learning all 24 numbers in support of the cast. The orchestra was a mix of current students from 9-12 grade, as well as some returning graduates who contributed clarinets, trumpets, French horns, percussion and keyboards to add the jazzy swing music so popular at the time. Mrs. Leo led the students on piano.
“The music changes with every number, so we have to be just as familiar with what is happening on stage as well as our own music,” explained junior clarinetist, Cameron O’Neill. “Mr. Ziegler did an amazing job preparing us and keeping us on track, and once we figured it out, it was so much fun to play with the people on stage.”
Director Leo acknowledged
some of the challenges in this year’s performance, most notably a brand new auditorium that was not completed until mid November. The shop and art students rose to the challenge, however, and created set pieces that were rich in vibrant colors and conveyed the hustle and bustle of 1930s Time Square perfectly.
“It takes hours of preparation but it is definitely rewarding,” said sound crew junior, Virginia Gugliotti. “Working the lights and sound this year was way easier this year with eh new setup in our auditorium.”
At the end of a long couple of months, the students of Crestwood High School’s production of Guys and Dolls can now sit back and revel in their accomplishment.
“It was an amazing experience,” remarked Student Director, senior Austin Douglas. “After many long days and nights spent between the cast and crew we worked so hard to make this show come together!”