“Guys and Dolls” was originally slated for 2020, but got postponed until July due to the pandemic.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — This weekend, Pickerington Community Theatre (PCT) will close out its run of the beloved Broadway classic “Guys and Dolls.” Originally slated for the summer of 2020, the production was postponed until this July due to the worldwide pandemic.
“’Guys and Dolls’ has been around for a long time,” said Chris Gallaugher, PCT’s president and the director of the play. “It’s based on [the] early-1900s in New York about gamblers and their ‘dolls’. It’s won a boatload of awards, it’s been on Broadway several times, been off Broadway several times. Extremely popular, it’s the type of that, if you’re having a tough time right now and you want to laugh, [it’s a] fantastic musical comedy to come out and see.”
“It’s really fun, upbeat; you’re going to laugh a lot,” said Kyle Roby who plays Nicely-Nicely Johnson. “There’s a lot of good one-liners and a lot of stuff for every age group.”
Stepping into a part previously portrayed by none other than Marlon Brando in the 1955 film adaptation, actor Connor Daugherty raises the stakes as world-class gambler Sky Masterson. He describes the story behind “Guys and Dolls” as “a fable…modernized for its time back in the 50s.”
Daugherty attributes the lasting appeal of the musical to the theme at its core.
“It’s got a really good message that can be applicable not just to that time period, but also today,” he says, “which is about the biggest risk in life being love.”
The show is packed with 20th-century standards and show tune favorites that many who’ve never seen the musical may not realize originated from its soundtrack. The set list includes classics like “Luck be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”
Accompanying the singers on the musical journey is a live orchestra of world-class musicians under the baton of music director Sue Laney. And crafting the movements married with the music is the show’s choreographer Jenny Small.
“I love ‘Guys and Dolls’ because it has several different groups of dancers that all get their moment to shine,” says Jordan Masterson who takes on the role of Nathan Detroit. “You’ve got your Hot Box dancers, then you’ve got the Crapshooters themselves; we even take the show…over into Cuba and every time you’re seeing people who have put several months of their lives into practicing these moves and perfecting it for the audience.”
For all of the volunteers involved in the production, from actors to orchestra, tech crew to the front-of-house folks, putting together community theater is a labor of love.
“We work during the day,” says Gallaugher, “and this is kind of our release at night and over the weekends. This is what we love to do. It’s what we’re passionate about. It scratches the artistic itch, if you will.”
For some of the performers in Guys and Dolls, taking the stage for this musical will mark the first time they’ve been in front of an audience since before the pandemic. For one performer, though, her return to the limelight has been much longer in the making.
“I was a really big dork in middle school and musical theater was just everything that I loved,” says Lauren King who portrays Sargent Sarah Brown.
For King, the whole process of taking part in PCT’s Guys and Dolls has been incredibly meaningful; this is the first time that the musical theater fan has been on stage in a decade.
“I was a musical theater major [and] I got nodules on my vocal chords,” King explains. Forced to change course, King went into education and has had a full career as a teacher and principal. But now, 10 years later, she has found her way back to the stage.
“This whole experience has just been a sort of surreal and just beautiful homecoming,” she says. “It’s been really nice.”
Community theater may – technically – be ‘amateur’ theatre, but the professionalism brought by the volunteers at Pickerington Community Theatre is second to none.
“The good news is Central Ohio is filled with talented people,” says Gallaugher. “I guarantee you that, when you leave this show, you will want to tell other people about it – in a good way! – and you may want to come back and see it again because it really is that funny and these people are that talented.”
All showtimes and ticket information can be found here.