“Guys and Dolls” - it’s a big ol’ fun Broadway musical on its way to the stage, Heartwood Theater and Lincoln Academy’s 17th annual student collaboration. There is a bit of an art to choosing a production, in any given year. Each one rises in its time and place, and this one required a large cast, the largest student cast to date on the Poe Theater stage:46.
Hailed as the perfect musical comedy, it’s family fare. This award-winning classic gambles with luck and love, but beyond that there is no gamble. This show is a solid, certain hit, packed with all the elements for a fantastic production: music, dance, high energy, romance, comedy, and those fabulous 50s costumes. It’s family fare, appealing to those who remember (and may still sing) the original songs, down on through young people. Music and dance has the rafters ringing in the Poe, with all-time favorites like “A Bushel and A Peck,” “If I Were A Bell,” “Luck Be A Lady” and the nearly-impossible-to-not-dance-along, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”
Students are fortunate to be working with a top notch professional production staff: Michelle Bruckner, New York singer-dancer-actress, directing and teaching choreography; Beth Preston, vocal coaching and direction; Sean Fleming directing professional and student orchestra; Heidi Kopishke providing vintage looking costumes, and Griff Braley, director of acting, design, tech and production. Having worked together on numerous prior musicals, the synergy of this staff provides students with a nearly seamless, professional production experience from beginning to end.
The cast of “Guys and Dolls”: Liam Allen, Honora Boothby, Lydia Branson, Aowyn Burbank, Ava Carmolli, Brennan Cruz, Sonny Cumming, Tiger Cumming, Nicholas Delorenzo, Thaddeus Eddyblouin, John Henry Eddyblouin, Marguerita Fairfield, Emmie Ferrell, Caeli Fletcher, Alicia Flis, Fiona Hallowell, Olivia Hardina, Logan Heath, Benno Hennig, Frida Hennig, Forest Holbrook, Audrey Hufnagel, Aiden Jacobs, Mariana Janik, Camden LeBel, Joe Levesque, Harper Libby, Jason Long, Matthew Long, Ruby Long, Gabriel Manning, JoJo Martin, Ava Nery, Izzy Petersen, Scott Petersen, Harrison Pierpan, Iris Pope, Aigerim Raimbek, Marcus Russano, Ben Schwink, Sophia Scott, Vern Smith, Callie Stapp, Mitchell Straus, Ada Tholen, Emma Tolley, (LA teacher) Mrs. Adria Tucker, and Cameron Wood.
Working and learning alongside Braley in the technical realm are several paid student interns, who build, paint, run lights and projections and carry out myriad “backstage” tasks … the glue that binds together a tightly knit show.
Participating in a production of this scope is consuming – and often life changing. It is team building, extraordinaire. Every element, every person is essential, and timing is everything. The goal: to meld the lighting, music, singing and acting, set changes, costume changes, backstage coordination of props, costumes, crosses … into a fluid and seamless performance which draws the audience into a shared space and time.
The intimacy of the Poe Theater heightens this experience, as the cycling energy between audience and performers becomes electric. The total experience is a gift that students will take with them, with increased confidence and an enormous sense of shared and individual accomplishment.
Evening performances of “Guys and Dolls” at the Poe Theater are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 20 - 21 and 26 - 28, with two 3 p.m. matinees on Sunday, March 22 & 29, in the Poe Theater at Lincoln Academy - 81 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle. Tickets: $16/adult and $5/students.
Performances typically sell out; early reservations are strongly encouraged. Reservations available by emailing Heartwood at email@example.com or phoning 563-1373 (please do not contact Lincoln Academy for tickets). Seating is unreserved, unless specifically requested in advance. For more details visit www.heartwoodtheater.org