The students at Christ the King Catholic School will present the popular musical Guys and Dolls opening March 7 in the school's Crusader Theatre, 1122 Long Ave., Richland.
To say the show has been a challenge would be a bit of an understatement, according to the cast.
"This is a hard play for seventh and eighth graders to perform because we all have to act like adults," said Grace Portch, who plays the lead Adelaide. "Guys and Dolls came out in the 1950s and is a true Broadway legend. Our cast has a hard legacy to live up to, but I know when the curtain rises opening night we just might live up to those legends."
Director Janice McIntyre chose the musical for good reason.
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"Choosing this particular production after three years of Disney shows was a change for us," McIntyre said. "There were concerns about content and this being a more adult show. But I think we have put all fears to rest by making workable adjustments to the script and blocking."
The story follows a group of gamblers who are always looking for the next big craps game to earn their fortunes, McIntyre explained. Nathan Detroit, played by Chase Swaggart, is a man who is the go-to guy for arranging the games. He is trying his best to balance his penchant for gambling and the love for Adelaide, whom he's been engaged to for 14 years.
Other lead characters in the story include ladies man Sky Masterson, played by Colby Richards, and Sarah Brown, played by Nancy Shoup. Other characters are Dominic Salinas as Nicely Nicely, Glenn Seikawitch as Benny, Kory Carterby as Rusty and Ryan Smith as Lt. Brannigan.
"I enjoy acting as Sky because his personality is unlike mine, which helps me stretch my mind as an actor," Colby said. "Some of the main differences between me and Sky are that I express emotions while he suppresses his. I feel empathetic toward people; he cares mostly about himself and his gambling. But I can connect with Sky on a whole different level because throughout the play, I feel like he's searching his soul for a deeper purpose than dice."
Shoup might find acting difficult at times, but she has no problem tackling a character from a different time in history.
"I like to portray people from older eras," she said. "It's fun because you have to think as someone who doesn't have all the things we take for granted today. Sarah is a bit of a challenge because I can only relate to certain aspects of her personality. For example, we both feel a need to help everybody we can, but we have different methods of going about it. Where I prefer to help friends and family with homework or chores, Sarah preaches openly to crowds that don't seem to care and devotes her life to helping people who don't act like they want to be helped."
Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. each night. Performances are March 7-9. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal