Lakeridge Middle School presents Guys and Dolls Junior
The Lakeridge Middle School theater department will premiere "Guys and Dolls Junior" April 25, with performances through April 27 and again May
"Guys and Dolls Junior" is an adaptation of the popular show considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy. Its namesake ran for 1,200 performances when it opened on Broadway in 1950 and won numerous Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Lakeridge Middle School theater director Franklin Dunwoody says he decided on the show because many students hadn't heard of it, and their last production, "And Then They Came for Me," which tells the story of the Holocaust, was so serious.
"I wanted to give students something a little lighter this time," Dunwoody said. "Most kids at this school had never heard of the play, so it was awesome how many kids tried out. We had about 10% of students in the school audition for the play."
The show takes place in during the Great Depression and tells the overlapping stories of high-roller Sky Masterson, who falls in love with mission worker Sarah Brown, and lovable rapscallion Nathan Detroit, engaged for 14 years to Miss Adelaide, a headliner at the Hot Box Club. Nathan runs a famous floating crap game, and an ongoing plot line involves his quest for a safe place for the game as Adelaide continues her quest to convince him to marry her. Meanwhile, Sarah, mistakenly believing that Sky set up an illegal game at the mission, tries to fight her affection for the charismatic crapshooter.
Dunwoody said that throughout rehearsals, the play has sparked conversations about gender roles among students. "There are parts of the play that some students found sexist, and I think it's important for them to learn that sometimes art is a reflection of its time," he said. "We have had a lot of great conversations about things are so much different now — we can have female mobsters."
Francie Mondeaux is an eighth grader at Lakeridge Middle School who was cast as General Cartwright. She said her favorite thing about being a part of the production is the family that has been created among the cast and crew.
"We have so many inside jokes now. It's so fun to come to rehearsal, especially as the premiere of the show gets closer," she said. "It's what I look forward to in the school day."
Mondeaux said that she always tries to be involved in the school's productions. "I feel so alive when I'm acting," she said. "I'm doing what I love."
Her biggest hope for the play is that the energy among the cast and crew transfers to the audience. "There is a lot of excitement, and I want the audience to share in that," she said.
Sixth grader Mark Pence and seventh grader Payton Walker are both on the crew, making the production happen behind the scenes.
Pence said he always wanted to be involved in drama in elementary school. But, he wasn't interested in acting and there were no opportunities for students to work behind the scenes at that age.
"I got to work on lights, which is what I really wanted to do but wasn't sure if I would get the opportunity to," Pence said. "I've been experimenting a lot and really having fun with it."
Pence also said he has made a lot of friends since getting involved with theater. "There are a lot of like-minded people involved, so it's a very comfortable environment," he said.
Walker said she has always loved sewing and design, so she knew she wanted to work on the costumes. "It's fun to put all of the costumes together, see what we can gather and what we need to find," she said. "I'm excited to about being able to show what we've been working so hard on to
the Lake Oswego community."
Lakeridge Middle School's production of "Guys and Dolls Junior" will premiere Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the school's cafeteria. There are shows at 7:30 on April 26-27 and May 2-4. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.eticketexpress.com/event/lakeridgejh/guysdolls/.
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