The Pittsburg High School Theatre Department brings big band music and a hearty dose of humor with its production of “Guys and Dolls,” a musical that follows life on the streets of New York with gamblers, showgirls, gangsters and missionaries.
The play follows notorious gambler Nathan Detroit, played by Jared Wilde, as he meets up with fellow gamblers about setting up a crap game, but in order to reserve a location to host the game, he needs $1,000.
Enter Sky Masterson, a hot-shot gambler who often wins big, and Detroit makes him a bet that he can’t get a doll to go with him to Havana, Cuba. The stipulation set upon the bet is that Detroit picks the doll, thusly picking Sarah Brown, a missionary who walks the streets trying to save however many sinners she can, played charmingly with an angelic voice by Cassie Hurt-McLarty. Never turning down a bet, Masterson agrees even though the two are completely opposite from each other.
“Sky Masterson is slick, smooth, charming,” said Will Jewett, who plays Sky exuding the aforementioned qualities quite handily. “He lives on the edge, he gambles big and he ends up falling in love with a missionary named Sarah Brown.”
The manner in which Masterson gets Brown to agree to go with him to Cuba is to make a deal he will bring 12 sinners with him to the Mission confessing their sins.
“Their Mission is failing and so it’s just really fun to see how they end up falling in love in the end,” Hurt-McLarty said.
Trying to keep so many moving pieces working in his favor, Detroit also contends with his fiancée of 14 years, Miss Adelaide, the main attraction at the Hot Box, a burlesque nightclub featuring showgirls singing and dancing.
“I’m very ditzy … and during the whole play I am sick, it’s like I’m lovesick because I’ve been engaged for so long and I just want to get married,” said Makayla Bockover, who brings plenty of laughs as the bubble-headed blonde, but also manages to bring the right amount of heart for the role.
“(Detroit) can’t commit to the crap game, or Adelaide,” Wilde said, describing his role. “If he committed to one, he could be really successful, but he just can’t.”
After a mad-cap dash of hijinks with the local police and Chicago gangsters, can Detroit and Masterson come out on top preferably with their dolls in hand?
Frank Loesser wrote the music and lyrics, and seeing as how Frank Sinatra was chosen for the role of Detroit in the 1955 musical adaptation, the music and dancing is important to the show.
Daniel Munguia and Matthew McMaster, both seniors playing in the Pit Band providing the music, said the jazzy music sets the tone for scenes with dancing in them.
“The musical is very well choreographed. It goes really well with the music,” Munguia said. “… They compliment each other.”
“It’s a classic piece of musical theatre and yet timeless all at the same time,” Director Greg Shaw said. “It’s a couple of love stories that have lots of dysfunction in them … but ultimately it’s a show that is designed to keep your toe tapping (and) put smiles on your face. It’s available and accessible by everybody of every age and that’s why we do shows like this. That’s why they endure.”
The play starts at 7 p.m. from Wednesday, Feb. 11, through Saturday, Feb. 14, and there will also be a matinee time Saturday at 2 p.m. at the high school auditorium.