‘Guys and Dolls’ is a sure bet for fun


Staff Report



Dru Billings and Katelyn Gentry get cozy in rehearsal for their upcoming production of “Guys and Dolls” at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center’s Willingham Theater.


Photos courtesy of Jessie Grant

The cast of “Guys and Dolls” rehearse a dance number for the upcoming production at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in February.


Photos courtesy of Jessie Grant

Keelin McAruther and Caleb Gerber are all smiles at a dance rehearsal for their upcoming performance of “Guys and Dolls” at the Willingham Theater.


Photos courtesy of Jessie Grant

A classic musical starring local actors will take place next month at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center’s Willingham Theatre. The show opens Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances Feb. 11, 17, 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 12 and 19 at 3p.m.

Featuring one of the greatest musical scores in the history of the American theater, “Guys and Dolls” is a love story about what happens to gambling men and the women who want to tame them. Popular songs from the production include “Luck Be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and more.

“This production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ is what community theater is meant to be,” said Patty Grant, a veteran actor in Yadkin County and beyond. “The cast and crew is made up of theater minded folks ages 7 to 70, novices and pros! Our guys and dolls have gathered from the immediate community and from surrounding counties to sing and dance our way to an imaginary place and time where gangsters and mission workers make us laugh a lot and celebrate a happy ending to a pair of love stories. Such good fun!”

The performers dance in the dazzle of New York City and the sizzle of Havana, Cuba, in this musical comedy, inspired by the short stories of Damon Runyon, which brings to life a mix of gamblers, gangsters and gutsy gals.

Rolling the dice is the vice of choice for Nathan Detroit (Dru Billings). He has big spenders ready to join his latest illegal craps game, but he’s having trouble arranging a safe location — and finding the money to pay for it. So he taps Sky Masterson (Zachary Freeman), a man who’s known for his willingness to gamble on anything and everything.

Their $1,000 bet: Sky has to get prim and proper do-gooder Sarah Brown (Brittany McCollum) to go with him on a trip to Havana. Nathan certainly likes the odds; after all, he’s kept his own fiancée, Miss Adelaide (Katelyn Gentry), waiting for their trip to the altar for 14 years! As Sarah and her colleagues search for sinners to reform, Nathan keeps looking to make his big score, and Sky comes to find that love just may be the biggest gamble of all.

With a cast and crew of more than 50 community members, with musical direction of Charlie Kluttz, featuring Luke Miller choreography, and under the direction of Jessie Grant, the cast has been in rehearsals for two and a half months. Actors have developed their characters and become vibrant performers. They have worked hand in hand with the production team to transform the Willingham stage into New York City with its bright lights and teeming nightlife.

The cast also has formed a special bond and many of the performers spoke about their connection to one another and how special that has become.

“’Guys and Dolls’ has been unique for me because I have developed many friendships through the cast, bonds I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. It’s rare that you can just meet some people then 12 hours of dancing later feel like you’re brothers,” said Jacob Keply.

Maddie Mckie added, “What has made ‘Guys and Dolls’ so unique is that the cast has really bonded and we get to be a big happy family doing what we love.”

The many hours of rehearsing has paid off and performers said the show has a professional feel, though the actors are volunteers.

“What has most surprised me is the ability of people from all walks of life, who don’t perform for a living, to get up on a show, just from zero to 60,” said Briana McClarin. “Memorizing lines and repeating choreography over and over again without getting discouraged or defeated. It’s absolutely wonderful and validates art and music as vital parts of our community. I think the audience will enjoy every bit of the show, but especially the Crap Shooter’s Ballet. Toes will be tapping, joy will be unavoidable and maybe, just maybe, one of our audience members will be inspired to audition and join us onstage.”

Tickets for adults are $20. Tickets for students 18 and younger are $15. For more information regarding tickets, visit yadkinarts.org or call 336-679-2941.

Dru Billings and Katelyn Gentry get cozy in rehearsal for their upcoming production of “Guys and Dolls” at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center’s Willingham Theater.
http://yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/web1_16107975_708946414578_1787616650_o.jpgDru Billings and Katelyn Gentry get cozy in rehearsal for their upcoming production of “Guys and Dolls” at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center’s Willingham Theater. Photos courtesy of Jessie Grant

The cast of “Guys and Dolls” rehearse a dance number for the upcoming production at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in February.
http://yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/web1_16129694_708946399608_877655563_o.jpgThe cast of “Guys and Dolls” rehearse a dance number for the upcoming production at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in February. Photos courtesy of Jessie Grant

Keelin McAruther and Caleb Gerber are all smiles at a dance rehearsal for their upcoming performance of “Guys and Dolls” at the Willingham Theater.
http://yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/web1_16122178_708946424558_1915926792_o.jpgKeelin McAruther and Caleb Gerber are all smiles at a dance rehearsal for their upcoming performance of “Guys and Dolls” at the Willingham Theater. Photos courtesy of Jessie Grant

Staff Report

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