Ignoring expectations and letting down one's guard can be dangerous, but it also can lead to pleasant surprises and new opportunities. Such is the case with the characters in "Guys and Dolls."
Hopewell-Loudon students are to present the popular musical at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday. This is the first major production in the new school on CR 7 in Bascom.
Set in the 1930s in New York, the story unfolds with gangsters in a variety of plaid coats facing off with the straight-laced staff at Save A Soul Mission. The former are looking for a place to conduct a high-stakes craps game, while the latter are trying to steer the risk-takers away from wealth and worldly possessions to a more Godly life.
As the action develops, members of both groups learn a middle ground is possible.
Leading the gamblers is Nathan Detroit, portrayed by Colton Feathers. Playing his fellow gamblers are Jarid Gelinas, Anson Tran, Ryan Depinet, Waleed Salem and Alex Beleny.
Marissa Smith has the role of Miss Adelaide, who would prefer to be Mrs. Nathan Detroit. Adelaide has been with Nathan for years without a wedding ring. Despite her devotion, the game always pulls him away from her.
The Hot Box Club is where Adelaide works, along with the other dancers played by Taylor Burns, Lara Pothast, Abby Park, Alaina Goshe and Lileigh Bower. Nathan brings his buddies to the club along with "guests" who are there for the traveling craps game.
Zach Clouse is cast as gangster Big Jule, with the rest portrayed by Migel Frankforther, Cody Brickner, Bryce Hindall, Chris Mora, Bryce Gorrell, Jenson Nutter, Noah Breidenbach, Isaha Schmidutz, Adam Huffman and Dakota Vance. The guys double as dancers for the lively craps game scene.
Ben Bodart, as Sky Masterson, has come to town looking for a big win when he spots Leah Reinhart as Sarah Brown, leader of the mission. Sky has learned to follow his instincts, and something draws him to Sarah.
Never mind she is a "mission doll" and he is a "guy" known for making and winning quirky bets. His efforts to flirt with her are thwarted until he demonstrates knowledge of some Scripture.
Sky actually persuades Sarah to fly to Havana with him for dinner - to win a bet. Tayler Kline, Alyssa Naus, Raven Spencer, Lizzie Erlanger, Katie Arnold and Kiley Siegel dance in colorful costume for this scene.
The unsuspecting Sarah becomes giddy after downing a few too many "Cuban milkshakes" and causes an uproar in the club. Sky carries her off for a hasty exit back to the city.
Upon their return, gamblers come tumbling out of the mission, pursued by Grant Gosche as Lt. Brannigan. A craps game has been going on in Sarah's absence. Her supervisor threatens to close the mission, and Sarah breaks it off with Sky.
Alissa Powell is cast as Sarah's assistant, Arvide. Portraying the rest of the mission band are Maria Faber, Kassie Shaver, Kensy Siegel, Emily Ward, Grace Portentoso and Ashley Rhodes.
Can people change for the better? Can love win out against the lure of the game? Can faith be softened with compassion?
Audience members can decide for themselves as they enjoy musical favorites such as "A Bushel and a Peck," "I've Never Been in Love Before," "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."
The team of directors includes Candy Haack, Sue Bodart and Theresa Lucius, who have made this rather adult production more suitable for the high school stage.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. They can be purchased at the door.