“Guys and Dolls” kicks off this Friday

Emma Austin

The WKU departments of music and theatre and dance will join together this weekend in the Van Meter Hall auditorium to perform their collaborative production of the musical “Guys and Dolls.”

“Guys and Dolls” follows the story of two unlikely couples, a gambler who asks out a missionary girl on a bet and a couple in a 14-year-long engagement, according to cast member Louisville sophomore Riley Morrissey.

“Part of the appeal of the story is that we get to see how people judge and misjudge others until they get the chance to get to know those others,” director and assistant professor Julie Barber said. “They learn new things about themselves.”

Barber said this golden-era musical transports audiences to a fantasy version of New York City, which serves as a dynamic backdrop to the intersecting lives of the characters.

“‘Guys and Dolls is pure American Broadway,” Barber said.

The show was written by New Yorkers and includes singing, dancing and comedy, Barber explained.

“I like this show because it has heart, but it also has great opportunities to showcase the many different talents in the cast,” Barber said.

Music director and assistant professor Wayne Pope said music is a vital element in the show and is executed by a singing cast as well as a pit orchestra.

“The elements of music and singing are added to enrich the dramatic presentation,” Pope said. He added that most cast members sing at some point in the show.

“It’s just a really cool way to see what each part of the theatre and dance department has to offer,” Morrissey said. “It’s a mixture of all of them.”

Morrissey said the cast has been rehearsing most weeknights since the first day of the semester. Although the cast is larger than what she is used to, Morrissey said she has enjoyed the rehearsal process and collaborating with the music and dance departments.

“Putting together a show is a bit like cooking,” Pope said. “The ingredients may change, but the process is similar.”

“At the beginning of the process, the music, dialogue, dance and stage blocking are rehearsed in isolation from one another,” Pope said. “As rehearsal advances, these different parts integrate to become a show.”

Pope said the toughest week is tech week, which he explained as the week when all of the production’s elements combine in the performance hall to become a show.

Barber said the cast and orchestra all came together for the first time on Monday night along with the costumes, props and sets to finalize preparations for the weekend’s performances.

Barber said “Guys and Dolls” offers a break from the 21st century stress of school and technology by transporting the audience to a colorful version of New York City in 1950.

“Does art imitate life or life imitate art?” Pope asked. “Come and see. You might see yourself. You might see others. You’ll definitely see a great show.”

“Guys and Dolls” will be performed April 1-3 in Van Meter auditorium at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday.