Students deliver memorable performance with ‘Guys and Dolls’
By Daniel Winningham
• What really causes a dancer to catch a cold, or the flu?
• How many dulce de leche’s does a missionary need to have a good time in Havana?
• Can a guy named Big Jule (pronounced Julie) from Chicago win it big in a game of craps in New York City?
Answers to the questions above and more were found at the 33rd annual musical put on by Carlinville High School March 22 and 23.
More than 60 students appeared in the all-musical directed by Lori Reiher. There were 18 musicians in the pit orchestra and 26 CHS students were in the stage crew.
For nearly two-and-a-half hours March 22, those taking in “Guys and Dolls” were treated to a special display of singing, acting, dancing and music at the CHS Gym. And when it was all over, another treat awaited in the school’s cafeteria … an ice cream social sponsored by the Carlinville Public Schools Foundation.
Once a few brief announcements were made, and the lights began to get turned out, the pit orchestra began playing a few minutes after 7 p.m.
Characters took a step back in time to the early 1950s in New York, referred to as a “Jungle of Sin” by the missionary crew.
Christopher Mock took on the role of Nathan Detroit, and his attempts to distract his fiancee, Miss Adelaide (charmingly performed by Madi Rogers) from his crap game is a main storyline of the musical.
Rogers made every effort to make sure certain words used had an extra twang to them. For instance, in her speaking parts, girls became “goirls,” person was “poirsen,” and pearls changed to “peoils.”
Miss Adelaide, the main attraction for a troop of performers called the “Hot Box” dancers, wants to get married as soon as possible, and she has already told her mother in Rhode Island that the couple have five children.
“Your mother must be a glutton for punishment,” was the response from Detroit.
Ethan Dixon, playing the role of gambler Sky Masterson, told Detroit gambling always should be the top priority for any guy.
“She’s always got to take second to aces back-to-back,” Masterson said.
“If a guy ain’t got a doll, who will holler at him,” Detroit said.
Detroit bets that Masterson cannot take a woman from the Save-A-Soul Mission to Cuba. Masterson quickly gets to work on the proposition, showing up at the mission and proclaiming he’s a sinner.
In Act I, Scene II, lead missionary Sarah Brown, portrayed by Katherine Cosenza, and Masterson performed a wonderful rendition of “I’ll Know When My Love Comes Along.”
When the song concludes and the two share a kiss, Brown slaps Masterson across the face.
“I’ll drop in again if you want to take a crack at the other cheek,” Masterson wisecracked.
In Act I, Scene VIII Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown are at El Cafe Cubana Havana enjoying dulce de leches. Brown asked what was in them and Masterson replied milk, sugar and “native flavoring,” called Bacardi. Brown then asked if there was alcohol in them and the response was, “Only enough to act as a preservative.”
Moments later, Brown, with several emptied dulce de leches in front of her, shares a dance with Masterson. Ana Morales and Justin Kendall did an admirable job as “Havana dancers” before Sky and Sarah joined in.
C.J. Meno, who took on the role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson, remarked that Miss Adelaide was “always taking his mind off honest work.”
Later, Meno, who led the group of a dozen or so gamblers along with Brett Nelson playing the role of Benny Southstreet, lamented that dolls force guys to act differently.
“When a lazy slob takes a good and steady job and he smells like Barbasol, he’s only doin’ it for some doll,” Johnson sang.
The comedy aside, the performance certainly had its share of singing and musical talent. Cosenza connected on several high notes in her rendition of “I’ll Know When My Love Comes Along,” and the gamblers, “Hot Box” dancers and the Save-A-Soul Mission crew all teamed up for several notables songs.
Probably the most recognized song of the entire musical, “Luck Be A Lady,” took place in the sewer as Masterson interrupted the crap game. Masterson then proceeds to get the gamblers to visit the Save-A-Soul Mission for a special “sinners” meeting.
“I don’t want to waste no evening for one hallejulah joint,” said Luke Cottingham, who portrayed gambler Harry the Horse.
Once at the Save-A-Soul Mission, with the gamblers cramped onto four small benches, the singing and dancing were on full display for “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” after several gamblers stood up and gave short testimonies of how they’ve changed their ways.
Sottoriva, portraying Big Jule, took a moment to stop puffing on his cigar to add a little comic relief before the musical selection began:
Rogers and Cosenza teamed up for the duet of “Marry the Man” in Act II, Scene VI and proudly say they want to: “Marry the man today, and change his ways tomorrow.”
Mock is working to find a place for the crap game, trying to stay one-step ahead of Police Lt. Brannigan, portrayed by Adam Rosentreter.
For much of the performance, Mock (Detroit) is lying to Rogers (Miss Adelaide) about his gambling habits, especially the crap game. Plans are in place to elope but Adelaide is left waiting … again. It all works out, though, with the two getting happily married at the end.
In the closing scene, Sarah Brown, Arvide Abernathy and the Mission Band and Sky Masterson are on Broadway, and Abernathy proclaims:
“Life is one big crap game, and the devil is playing with loaded dice.”
At that point, the first production night was in the books, and the only part left was for the performers and stage crew to come and take a bow.
2013 CHS musical details
This year’s musical, based on a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, includes music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The play is based in New York City in 1953.
L. Reiher, in her 15th year of directing the CHS Musical, began in 1999 when the high schoolers performed “The Pajama Game.” Marge Deffenbaugh directed the musical before Reiher took over. The first CHS musical was in 1981 when the school performed “Annie Get Your Gun,” which was directed y Ann Reichmann.
Michael Morrison was the assistant director, Sarah LoBue served as the musical’s choreographer and Patrice Corso was the vocal director. Katie Lyphout served as the musical conductor. Kris Lohnes was the assistant director for the sage crew.
Holly Bloomer and the CHS art students created the set design, which was built by Farley Cole, Mike Hammann, Von Leefers and Bob Reiher.
Sound for the musical was handled by Craig Boyd of Boyd Music of Jacksonville; Stage Tankersley of Rage, Revolta Lighting handled lighting; and the bright, oftentimes vibrant costumes were from Grand Ball Costumes of Charleston.
CHS students Melissa Baker, Chey Foster, Katie Krupica, Bailey Reed and Rebecca Sprinkel served as ushers for the play.
To see more photos from Guys and Dolls, visit the Events album in our photo gallery.