KOKOMO, Ind. — Gamblers, missionaries, and dancers take the Havens Auditorium Stage, as Indiana University Kokomo presents the classic musical Guys & Dolls April 1 to 3.
Wendy Grice, lecturer of music, and Garry Grice, adjunct faculty in music, direct the show, set in 1940s New York City.
Wendy Grice said they chose the musical because it is a Broadway classic, and something completely different from the 2021 production of Pirates of Penzance.
“The story is based on Damon Runyon’s short stories, so it’s something different for our cast,” she said. “It’s a very different culture for them. They love it, and they’re having fun with the accents. There is also a lot of dance so it’s been challenging for them.
For student Anna Ely, the musical offered a chance to play her dream role, Hot Box Club star dancer Adelaide, who has been engaged to gambler Nathan Detroit for 14 years.
“I’ve wanted to play her for the past few years,” said Ely, from Kokomo. “She’s quirky and has some fun songs. I’ve mostly played straight roles, so I’m excited to branch out and get to do something funny and different.”
She previously participated in theatre at IU Kokomo while earning a bachelor’s degree, and now as a graduate student.
“It helps me feel more engaged as a student,” she said. “I’m getting to interact and participate with other students.”
Molly Lewis, who portrays mission worker Sarah Brown, said she had a supporting role in a production of the show at her high school, and is excited to play one of the romantic leads at IU Kokomo.
“It’s a really funny show, and there’s a lot of good music,” she said, adding that people may not be familiar with the show itself, but will recognize songs like “A Bushel and a Peck,” and “Luck Be a Lady.”
Lewis is a business major, with a music minor. Participating in theatre is one of the things she will remember most about being a student, she said.
“Performing allows me to spend more time with other students in the choir,” she said. “I’m getting to know more people and see more people being involved in not only what I love, but what they love to do.”
Grice said audiences will enjoy the show’s comedy, and the talented singers performing. There will be a full orchestra, and, for the first time, three-dimensional projected sets, rather than standard constructed sets.
“They look amazing,” she said. “They are run through a projector, and when you watch, they are in motion. Lights flash off and on, palm trees are waving, and it looks real. I’m so excited to see them.”
Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 3, in Havens Auditorium. General admission ticket are $10, children 7 to 12 years old $5, and free for children 6 and younger. Tickets will be sold at the door or may be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.