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Guys And Dolls: A Great American Tradition

Senior+Ivan+Grgic+leads+the+Hot+Box+Girls+in+the+cheeky+musical+number+Bushel+%26+A+Peck.
Sophie Wojtak
Senior Ivan Grgic leads the Hot Box Girls in the cheeky musical number “Bushel & A Peck.”
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The lights dimmed and the curtain opened: the bustling streets of New York fill the stage and the Sunnyslope 2024 cast is added to the long list of high school theaters that have portrayed the iconic musical, Guys and Dolls.
Guys and Dolls was a nostalgic and exciting musical for many; students leading the musical experienced it for the first time, but many Sunnyslope teachers revisited old memories.
Guys and Dolls graced the Sunnyslope Stage this spring on April 18th, 19th, and 20th.
The seniors portraying the leads, Ivana Grgic as Adelaide, Calvin Carranza as Nathan, John Sing as Skye, Jordyn Beldman as Sarah, and every other actor and person in tech who has put the show together shared in a common experience with many Slope faculty and staff. Guys and Dolls, produced in 1950 has been a go-to show for high school theaters for decades.
Staff members who took part in their own productions of the show include: Sunnyslope Principal Jonathan Parker, Choir Teacher Tamara Krause, Theater Director Madeline McDonald, Special Education Teacher Jonette Steele, Attendance Secretary Kristin Forsythe, Journalism Teacher James King, English Teacher Keri Mickleson and Science Teacher Scott Gilpin.
Although life has changed for many of the teachers, for both the students and teachers, Guys and Dolls brought long-lasting friendships.
It has been 36 years since Parker starred as Nathan Detroit in his senior musical, but he still has fond memories from being in his high-school’s production of Guys and Dolls.
“Senior year, you’re in the theater production with your friends – you have a great time,” said Parker.
Similarly, Sing feels that he has built better relationships with high school friends through this production.
Sing said, “I’ve known a lot of these people for a long time, but getting to see them everyday it’s made me better friends with them.”
McDonald and other staff members, also recalled the friendships made in their own productions of Guys and Dolls.
McDonald said, “My favorite memory of the musical was developing new friendships with other students and working together to produce an amazing show.”
For Forsythe, her Guys and Dolls cast became like “a family” for that short time.
A cast bonds over working on songs, dances, and scenes that are challenging and exciting.
“I like dancing in the hotbox, and then there’s all the hot box girls. I really like rehearsals with them because they’re all very focused, but they’re all so kind” Grgic said.
Like the dedication of the hotbox girls, each of the characters challenge the actors portraying them through the dichotomy of their comedy and depth.
Both Parker and Grgic felt that their characters were fun to play because they were comical yet “bold.”
Parker said, “There was a lot of room for that particular role [Nathan] to be funny.”
Similarly Grgic described Adelaide as a “silly, crazy, bold” character.
In contrast to Adelaide and Nanthan, Sarah, the missionary, brings a more serious note to the musical.
Beldman described Sarah as a character as “so serious”, but that is what she feels makes her character special.
Not only were the characters “silly” and “bold” so were the songs.
Some of the favorite songs from the former cast members and current ones include, “Luck be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” and more.
The songs challenge the actors in blocking, vocals, and choreography.
Although Beldman considers herself an alto, Sarah is a soprano, so she said that singing higher has “pushed her.”
Sing and Carranza have never been in a choir or theater production, yet they feel their theater debut has improved their singing and acting skills.
Carranza said that blocking was the aspect of acting he did not expect to be difficult, and Sing said that working with Krauss has taught him a lot about singing.
Each song carried a special memory for the staff members and formed a new one for the current cast members.
Steele described that she enjoyed the choreography of Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat which was choreographed similarly in Sunnyslope’s 2024 production of the song.
As the former cast members reflected on their favorite memories and moments of the past, they expressed their excitement to see the current production.
Kraus shared how putting on a production of Guys and Dolls had always been “in the back of [her] mind” and her joy of experiencing the show again.
McDonald shared similar sentiments as Kraus, expressing that it wasn’t just nostalgia that brought about the production choice.
“I was thrilled to choose Guys and Dolls to be our musical this year because separate from my involvement in the show previously, it was the best fit for our students and program,” said McDonald.
Many staff members planned to relive their fond memories.
Forsythe said, “I am excited it was chosen as the musical for this year. I plan on enjoying one of the shows.”
This year’s spring musical, Guys and Dolls, was a special one because of the thread of friendship, memories, and nostalgia that connect current and past cast members.

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