What’s playing at the Roxy? “Guys and Dolls,” the Tony Award-winning Frank Loesser musical of 1950, opened its four-show run at Port Jervis High School last night. Performances will be at 7 p.m. today and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s a very happy, very funny show,” said director Ruth Ann Gordon of the romantic comedy based on the short stories of Damon Runyon. With a film adaptation in 1955, and numerous stage revivals since, “Guys and Dolls” has told the paradoxical tale of gamblers, a prim missionary, and a showgirl moll, from Broadway to London’s West End to Melbourne, Australia.
The production is full-script, said Gordon, featuring all the songs from the original Broadway version, including the titular “Guys and Dolls,” “Luck Be a Lady,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” While junior, truncated versions of school musicals use CDs and omit certain songs, she said, PJHS will perform the “full show” with a pit orchestra.
“This year has been a special year,” said music director Dana Long. “I have colleagues, former students, and current students performing in the pit.” Joining pianist Jim Quinlan are faculty members Patricia Halpenny, Patricia Taub, and Bill Harris; former students Denine Lasch (Long’s younger sister), Sara Walsh, Makayla Csenscits, and Dylan Little; and current students Lili DeGraw, Cheyenne Otto, Logan House, Dalton Doolittle, Elizabeth Tasker, and Lauren Waligroski.
The cast of about 40, comprised of ninth through 12th graders, “has been working so hard to get immersed in who their characters are,” said Gordon, and at mastering the technique of comedy. “We had an acting coach (Beth Kelley) come in and work with them. There’s a rhythm to how comedy has to be delivered.”
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