Off broadway: Portales High School students to perform ‘Guys and Dolls’

Argen Duncan

Broadway is hitting Portales, and the ‘50s are back.

Portales High School students are putting on the Broadway musical comedy “Guys and Dolls” this weekend.

The story revolves around a craps game and two struggling couples in New York City in the 1950s.

“After watching the musical, I liked the underlying theme of redemption — no matter where you come from, you can always change for the better,” said choir teacher Franklin Smith, who’s directing the musicians.

Smith said such productions teach students a lot in a couple of months.

“I think they learned perseverance,” he said. “They learned to depend on each other, and I really think that some of them are becoming better actors than they thought they were.”

Freshman Garrett Gain, who has two roles as a pedestrian and a gambler, said he learned if the students stick together, they can handle the project.

Senior Katlyn Gore, who plays the leading female role of Sarah Brown, said preparing for the play had been fun, with students incorporating old music and clothing from the 1950s and learning to speak and carry themselves like people from that era.

“The personal demeanor is so much different than what we’re like today,” she said.

Gore has performed in other musicals and said singing makes the play more challenging because she has to act while keeping the tempo and notes of the music right.

Technical manager Sam Rice, a senior, said he helped create the set and lighting design for the play. A challenge in “Guys and Dolls” is the frequently changing set with only three people to get all of the props on and off the stage, he said.

“I’ve definitely learned that just because you think you’re ready for a project this big doesn’t mean you have all the leadership qualities ready,” Rice said, adding he hoped his leadership had improved.

“Guys and Dolls” is the second musical in which flutist and sophomore Hannah Wagner has played.

“It’s fun, but it’s very difficult to stay with everything, and it’s neat seeing people act and stuff,” she said.

Wagner said she enjoyed supporting the actors on stage.

Sophomore Lex Lambert, who plays Gen. Matilda B. Cartwright, moved to Portales five months ago and said the play has allowed her to see different sides of other students in the drama department.

The musical itself is funny, with a woman engaged 14 years beginning to question the sincerity of her sweetheart and another woman letting go of her extremely conservative morals, Lambert said.

“People should definitely come see it if they want a genuine laugh,” she said.

Drama teacher Bill Strong said students have gotten a look at the past and learned to juggle schedules, meet deadlines and work as a team.

“The kids amaze me because they juggle so many things; they get so much done,” he said.

Strong also said the play wouldn’t be possible without members of the community lending their time and talents to the effort.