Moscow Community Theatre’s “Guys and Dolls” director and co-producer Roger Wallins is taking on one of the longest-running and well-respected Broadway musicals in the U.S. and sharing it with a Moscow audience. Here, Wallins shows how MCT’s take on the 1950s musical stands out from the rest.The cast has 22 members, but you’ll see more than 50 characters.
Some actors, such as Merina Burton, have six different roles. Costume changes have to be quick and flawless between certain scenes.
The main actors have some big lungs and extensive theater experience.
Jennifer Harrington, who plays Hot Box dancer Adelaide, spent a few years taking private vocal lessons and has acted in Moscow Community Theatre, Missoula Children’s Theater and Idaho Repertory Theatre for Youth productions.
“Jennifer has just learned a lot through the experience that she has truly made for herself,” Wallins said.
Joseph Erhard-Hudson, who plays gambling organizer Nathan Detroit, is part of small vocal groups Jelly Bean and Trillium.
While Wallins hasn’t worked with Travis Chase, who plays gambler Sky Masterson, he said Chase has a great voice and has been involved in community theater through the years.
Nancy Means performed in another of Wallins’ productions, acting as Rosie in “Bye, Bye Birdie.” Means plays Sarah Brown, the Save-A-Soul mission main character in this play.
It’s a family show — for the patient.
“It’s very long,” Wallins said.
The play itself is 2½ hours, not including intermission. But MCT cut a bit here and there while sticking true to the music, all with permission from the copyright holder.
“I’m hoping with the scene changes, we can get it down within two hours,” said Wallins, who added that’s still a long time for a young child to sit.
The script may seem a little outdated.
Loosely based off Damon Runyon’s short story “The Idoll of Miss Sarah Brown,” “Guys and Dolls” is almost free of contractions: don’ts, won’ts and can’ts.
“(Runyon) has, what to us would seem like, a stilted language, in part because of the small number of contractions, and because often each syllable or each short word will be emphasized,” Wallins said.
The stilted language comes mostly from the gamblers’ lines, not the main actors you’ll be hearing the most.
Premiering at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, MCT will show “Guys and Dolls” 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, as well as 2 p.m. Sunday. The show continues Nov. 8-10 at the same times. General admission is $15, while youth, students with valid ID and seniors cost $12. Tickets are available at the box office a ½-hour before each performance and in advance at BookPeople of Moscow.
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTreffry.