Talented teens make ‘Guys & Dolls’ a success

The Hot Box Dancers surround a distraught Miss Adelaide (Monica Voss) as she performs “Take Back Your Mink,” the opening number of act two, during the Evanston High School spring musical “Guys and Dolls.” (HERALD PHOTO/Sheila McGuire)

EVANSTON — Talented teens took to the stage May 5-7 for the annual Evanston High School spring musical. This year’s production was the classic Broadway fable, “Guys and Dolls.”

For the unfamiliar, the tale is a romantic comedy involving two couples — high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson and missionary Sarah Brown and crap game manager Nathan Detroit and showgirl Miss Adelaide. The action opens with Nathan trying to find a location for his oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York City, which moves daily to stay one step ahead of local law enforcement. Adelaide, Nathan’s long-time fiancée — 14 years in fact — believes he’s given up the crap game and consistently asks Nathan when exactly they will be getting married. Nathan is searching for a new location for the crap game while doing his best to keep Adelaide in the dark, when he finds himself in need of $1,000 to rent out the Biltmore Garage for the next night’s game.

Meanwhile Sky rolls into the city fresh from Las Vegas and headed to Havana for some gambling action. Knowing Sky loves an unusual bet, Nathan bets him $1,000 he can’t get missionary Sarah Brown to accompany him to Havana, thus setting up the meeting and unlikely love connection between the genuine gambling sinner Sky and the devout “doll” Sarah.

The show features musical numbers that take place from Broadway to the Save-a-Soul Mission to the Hot Box nightclub, a bar fight in a Havana club and a dice-game dance number extravaganza in the sewers of New York City, including classics, “Bushel and a Peck,” “Adelaide’s Lament,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” and “Luck Be a Lady.” The young players didn’t disappoint, bringing all the action to life for audiences in four performances over the three-day run.

Under the direction of theater director Erin Russell and vocal music director Heather Blackwell, and featuring creative and vibrant set pieces by tech theater students, the cast demonstrated why EHS boasts the multi-time state drama champions.

With double casting to allow more students to show off their theatric skills, the eight students playing the four lead roles were outstanding, including Gage Beachler and Aidan McGuire as Nathan Detroit, Monica Voss and Hadley Blackwell as Miss Adelaide, George Stephen and Riley Ovard as Sky Masterson and Linzy Sharp and Ethnee Swensen as Sarah Brown. All eight danced, sang and acted with flare and exuberance as audiences laughed and cheered throughout all four performances.

Delightful supporting performances added to the laughs as Hyrum Baxter as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Owen Russell as Benny Southstreet, Rigan Hoggatt as Big Jule, Porter Hatch as Harry the Horse, and Fox Banry and Schuyler Green as Arvide Abernathy filled out the main cast.

Other cast members included Jessica Powell, Genevieve Nelson, Hunter Sims, Bethany Bingham, Maria Elsen, Jasmine Carlsen, Paul Baxter, Savanna Hatch, Kimball Bowen, Diana Davis, Aubrey Horrocks, Victoria Anderson, Maddi Curtis, Felisa Clarito, Rosa Echevarria, Laiyne Carson, Trapper Winans, Sayge Taliercio, Cashae Brooks, Hannah Liechty, Becca Davis, Kya Coles, Aubreyanna Jones, Diana Davis, Carter Stokes, Aidan Conrad, Ellie McFadden, Julian Delgadillo, Ava Graham, Emily Kipp, Val Clark, Claire Nelson, Bella Dover, Kaity Bowker, Keeda Hamilton, Tessa Davis, Alli Klinesmith, Melissa Robinson, Tawnya Beck, Liesl Botts and Cailey Davis.

The technical crew included stage managers Mallory Francis and Spencer Lester and assistant stage managers Brandon Magana and Bailey Purcell, as well as costume designers Sarah Hutchinson, Journee Owens, Kasey White, Maddi Curtis, Michael Jorgensen, Abigail Steier, Aubrey Jones, Izzie Liechty, Alexis Chandler, Rozzlyn Roberts and Bella Arnold. Makeup was done by Madi Durrant, Anastacia Hart and Praline Fadden; light design and crew was by Jayden Schneider, Payton Bybee, Durrant and Arnold. Sound designers included Naomi Munoz, Jessica Ibarra, Alondra Saavedra and Amelia Clark; prop crew included Haille Hernandez, Daniela Navarro, Kelsey Angwin, Corbyn Bates, Hamilton and Delgadillo; and publicity crew included Clara Meier, Austin Lensch and Fox Banry.

Set designers included students Ali Likes, Sofia Herrera, Sam Nielsen, Ovard, Jackson Biddulph, Jaxon Nicholls, Teghan Hoff, Dillon Payne, Leilani Searles, Leilani Richardson, Omar Burgos, Jacey Bardsley, Ella Bybee, Zayden Mills and Gustavo Cervantes.

The dance numbers featured additional choreography by Lisa Hansen and Savanna Hatch, costume assistance was provided by Joan Barnard and additional prop assistance was provided by David Russell.


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