HANFORD — The Tony Award-winning “Guys and Dolls” may have run for 1,200 performances on Broadway, but to see it on stage at Hanford High School, you’ll have to see it this weekend or miss out.
Opening tonight at 7 p.m. at the Stratton L. Tarvin Presentation Center, the Hanford High School drama department will bring the iconic and beloved musical to life. Three more performances are scheduled throughout the weekend.
“This is the show I wanted to bring in for this year. I think it’s important to bring in some of the classic, more well-known shows that allow for some quality family fun. Everyone from your grandfather down to your baby sister can enjoy this,” said Hanford High School’s new drama teacher, Dana Hamilton.
This will be Hamilton’s first production in Hanford, having previously been the director of theater arts at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno.
The Rat Pack-friendly story involved a couple of gamblers who hope to come up lucky in craps — and in love.
Senior Jaden Sanchez plays Sky Masterson, who hopes to land a virtuous on a date to win a bet.
“I take Ally Ryan’s character, Sarah Brown, to Havana and fall in love with her. Usually [my character] is the kind of guy who thinks girls are just whatever, so this is the first girl he’s ever fallen in love with. Throughout the play, you really see him evolve,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez describes his character as a successful gambler who doesn’t show the outside world his softer, more sensitive side.
“Everyone just thinks he’s this rich dude who wins every time,” he said.
Throughout his four years on stage with the Hanford High School drama department, his roles have gone from singing and dancing in “Seussical” as freshman to filling the shoes of the “Guys and Dolls” character played by Marlon Brando in the 1955 film version.
The young actor said he’s enjoying the chance to flex his acting muscles a bit.
“I think this is the best story out of all the shows I’ve been in,” he said. “It has life lessons.”
Juniors Joey Vandecaveye and Victoria Medeiros (playing Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide, respectively) are also enjoying the chance to take center stage and take on the responsibility of bringing such an iconic story to life, they said.
“[Hamilton] expects a lot from us and she wants us to do well,” Vandecaveye said.
Vandecaveye will take on the role of a gambler with cold feet, once played by Frank Sinatra in the movie version of the story.
“My character is a gambler, actually, he’s addicted to gambling and he’s been engaged for 14 years and that’s supposed to be a funny thing,” Vandecaveye said. “She’s trying to get me to marry her but I’m too focused on gambling.”
The impatient bride-to-be is played by Medeiros. “Guys and Dolls” will make the first time that Medeiros has been cast in a role with “real lines,” she said, as she’ll be stepping out of the chorus for the starring role.
“It’s nerve-wracking for sure, but it makes you feel really good and it makes you feel really good to be up there and see the reactions of people, watching them enjoy something you’ve made happen,” she said.