Down Art Avenue: Never a dull moment in ‘Guys and Dolls’ by CAST
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Aug 27, 2013 | 1204 views |  0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although “Guys and Dolls” which opens Sept. 12 at McClellan Theatre is funny, light and whimsical, you’ll see reality intersecting with entertainment. The final date for the musical is Sept.22.

At least eleven Jacksonville actors bring these elements to the stage to help tell the story of the wide-lapeled attractive gangsters Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson and their girlfriend. The men want to get married to them but are both having problems to that end. The musical, say members of the cast, has everything in entertainment; but at the same time it deals with everyday problems.

That’s what makes the musical comedy real to everyone, said Maurice Winsell, a Jacksonville State University senior. He portrays Nathan Detroit, the man trying to find a place in New York City for the crap game, and pay for it.

“Even though the story is set against corruption at this time in New York, there are positive elements in this script,” Winsell said. “There are some good people here, just trying to make ends meet. Although Nathan Detroit tries to find a place for the crap game-- pay for the space—he’s not a gambler. And, while he’s been engaged to Miss Adelaide for 14 years he doesn’t marry her because he’s not sure he can support her.”

Sky Masterson (portrayed by Wesley Franks, a JSU sophomore) is a big-time gambler falls in love with Miss Sarah Brown at the Save-A-Soul Mission on Times Square. “It’s an unlikely romance, said Winsell. “But it finally works.”

Masterson was the Marlon Brando role in the movie. Franks, in participating in the show, is making his debut on the CAST stage.

Other Jacksonville actors in it are Robin Bauer, Pierre Gillette, Chris Colvard, Rachael Walker and Howard Johnson. In addition Dylan Hurst who works backstage, Micky Turner, Katie Tibbetts, Maddy Goheke, and Morgan Patterson are lending their talents to the show which is directed by Kim Dobbs, a graduate of JSU. Eric Traynor, assistant professor of drama at JSU, is music director.

Quoting from information published by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, “The show was a giant valentine to America in post-World War II years. The country, enjoying big band music and dances at that time, was ready to celebrate new opportunities”.

The play “Guys and Dolls” which opened in 1950 at 46th Street Theatre ran for 1,200 performances in New York. The movie starred some of the best names in show business then with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. It was called “the perfect musical” by one critic and reviewed as “the most entertaining musical yet on Broadway” by others.

“It’s a great piece of musical history,” added Winsell.

The cast members say they like the melodic songs, the action-packed plot, the broad spectrum of characters that walk the New York streets and the Brooklyn accents. “There are some really funny lines and quirky characters,” said Bauer who plays General Matilda B. Cartwright.

This is CAST’s opener for the new season. The next plays on the ticket are “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”, “Thirty-Nine Steps”, an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, and “Nine to Five: The Musical.” Each show is presented two consecutive weekends with matinees on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. The evening plays are at 7:30 p.m.

Single tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Season’s tickets are $50 to adults, and $25 for students. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the website, or by calling CAST at 256 820-CAST.
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