LAKEWOOD RANCH It doesn’t necessarily take a Frank Sinatra or Marlon Brando to perform the musical comedy “Guys and Dolls,” although they did in a venerable 1955 film.
Marilyn Branning’s Nolan Middle School drama class is reviving a Broadway Junior Production of “Guys and Dolls” for performances 7 p.m. March 2 and 3 at the school cafeteria.
At a recent dress rehearsal, students were performing classics like “Luck Be a Lady” and “A Bushel and a Peck.”
It was a big step up for some of them.
Greg Short, for instance, who last played a grave digger in “Tom Sawyer,” this time around plays Nathan Detroit, Frank Sinatra’s role.
Jackie Koelsch, who last played a squirrel in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” steps up to play Miss Adelaide, a role played by Vivian Blaine in the movie.
Riley Knutson may have a little more experience as a lead actor, including playing the prince in “Cinderella.”
But this time he plays Sky Masterson, Marlon Brando’s old role.
“I have seen the movie and he is really cool,” Knutson said of Brando.
There is a lot of singing and dancing numbers in “Guys and Dolls,” which revolves around a high-roller on Broadway and a strait-laced urban missionary.
Spoiler alert: it all works out as the gambler repents, and the dolls get their guys.
“It’s a lot more challenging being the main character. It’s not something I’m used to. I feel I have a lot to live up to,” said Short.
Taylor Halbeck has Jean Simmons’ role, Sgt. Sarah Brown.
“I like the combination of singing and acting,” Taylor said.
She doesn’t intend to pursue a career in theater; she plans to follow her mother’s path as an artist.
“I do this for fun,” Taylor said.
Nolan annually does a large musical in the spring, Branning said.
There was no shortage of students wanting to take part. There were about 150 vying for 40 spots in the cast, and another 20 for the crew, she said.
“It’s great working with students who are so talented,” Branning said.
Tickets will be sold at the door for $5. Children under age 5 are admitted free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Nolan Middle is located at 6615 Greenbrook Blvd.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021. Tweet@jajones1