by Susan O’Neill
KANELANDâ€”Kaneland High School junior Samantha Vasquez, who will play Sister Sarah Brown in the high school’s staging of â€œGuys and Dollsâ€ this weekend, has been in school plays since the sixth grade, but this is the first time she will play the lead.
Vasquez said she is having a lot of fun with her character.
â€œI like being someone else for a change,â€ she said. â€œShe’s completely different from me. She’s serious.â€
Sister Sarah Brown, a pious mission worker from the Save-A-Soul Mission, is looking for souls to save on the 1940s streets of New York City. Among the gamblers, crooks, drunks and dancers who inhabit the neighborhood in which the mission resides, Sister Sarah encounters Sky Masterson, a high-rolling gambler played by Kevin Krasinski, who some may remember in his role as Gaston last year in Beauty and the Beast.
â€œâ€˜Guys and Dollsâ€™ is always so much fun for kids,â€ director and theater teacher Ilene Carter said. â€œIt’s a character show.â€
The musical premiered on Broadway in 1950, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical, according to Carter. The movie version in 1955 starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.
Carter said she chose the play because she had enjoyed it so much when she acted in it and subsequently directed it.
Sydney Luse and Kelsey Cotton, both freshmen, are Hot Box dancers in the play. The Hot Box is a seedy nightclub in the city where one of the main characters, Miss Adelaide, played by Chelsey Roberts, is the headliner.
â€œIt’s been a blast,â€ Luse said.
Luse said she thinks the 1940s, the decade in which the play takes place, is a pretty cool time-period.
Although new to acting at the high school level, both girls had been in plays in middle school. Cotton has also been in two plays at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, where she was a chorus member in Beauty and the Beast and in â€œGuys and Dolls.â€
Sophomore Brian Edwards plays Big Jule, the gambler from Chicago.
â€œHe’s a tough guy; not the smartest guy, but he has a lot of weapons,â€ Edwards said.
Senior Chloe Blummel, who has acted in a number of plays during high school, has taken on the role of stage manager for â€œGuys and Dolls.â€ The stage manager attends every performance, keeping track of every detail, and is in charge of the performance the night of the show, Carter said.
â€œIt’s really cool to see the stage from the other side,â€ Blummel said.
Blummel said she has really enjoyed working with Carter, as well.
â€œShe knows her stuff,â€ she said.
Blummel said it has been great to understand what the director is trying to accomplish, and to see why she does what she does.
â€œShe (Carter) treats me with the utmost respect,â€ she said. â€œShe’s been kind and very supportive. She asks for my opinion. It’s been a pleasure.â€
She said she will be the last stage manager Carter works with before she leaves, and hopes she lives up to her expectations.
â€œI know how much the show means to her,â€ Blummel said.