Players prepare for “Guys and Dolls”


Alex Gaines ’25

Staples Players’ production of Guys and Dolls will run from Nov. 11-19. The show features classic Broadway songs such as “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat” and “A Bushel and a Peck.”

This isn’t the first time that Staples Players has put on the 1950s classic musical “Guys and Dolls.” It was most recently done in 2009. Before that: 2000, which marked theater teacher David Roth’s first ever musical as director of the theater group.

“We just thought the time was right to do it again,” Roth said.

Last year, Players put on “Grease” and “Descendants,” the latter of which was an opportunity brought to the Players by Disney Theatrical Group, with Staples being one of the first high schools to put on the show. 

“We wanted to go back to doing a big classic musical,” Roth said.

“Guys and Dolls” tells the story of Nathan Detroit, a gambler who needs $1,000 to play a craps game. Nathan bets $1,000 Sky Masteron that Sky can’t take a woman named Sarah Brown on a date. Meanwhile, Nathan’s fiancé Adelaide has been trying to finally marry Nathan, as they’ve been engaged for 14 years.

“In this [show], everyone has their own story,” Jackie Peterson ’23, who plays Adelaide, said. “There’s so many different paths that go on – in ‘Grease’ or ‘Descendants,’ everyone had this one arc… but everyone has their own story in this.”

“Guys and Dolls” has been in production since the very beginning of the school year, with auditions starting Sept. 1 and rehearsals starting up immediately after that. The players rehearse almost every day after school leading up to. 

We’ve been working since the pandemic to rebuild Players and the shows that we’ve chosen have been both to bring our audiences back in and also to keep the students really excited about the work that we’re doing.

— David Roth

“‘Guys and Dolls’ is an older show and everything is so characterized,” ensemble member Sorel Kennedy ’25 said. “I’m in the Runyonland ensemble and everyone has their own part and this character that they have to emulate. I just have a really fun time stepping into that persona and putting on a really big cheesy smile.”

Many of the Players have highlighted the remarkable dancing in the show that accompanies classic musical songs, such as “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat” and “A Bushel and a Peck.”

“The dancing is a lot more serious and a lot harder this time,” cast member Yusef Abdallah ’25 said. “There’s a lot of lifts and a lot of out-of-breath stuff.”

“There are a lot of opportunities for trained dancers to show their skill set in the show,” Kennedy said.

While the actors in Players are who you actually see on stage, the production couldn’t happen without the various tech crews – including sets, costumes, paints and lights – who work just as much than the actors to put the show together.

“We costume the entire show,” costumes crew member and cast member Rosie Kauppinen ’25 said. “We craft, we sew, we pull things that we already have in stock and we design things and it’s just like one big team… it’s really fun.”

“Guys and Dolls” premiered on Broadway in 1950, but takes place in the 30s. That decade was a drastically different time socially, and underlying sexist themes seem inevitable.

“I think calling a woman a ‘doll’ is in itself a little bit dated,” Roth said. “But as we start to really delve into these characters, we realize that all of the female roles are all women who are working full time in 1950… these are all women that have chosen careers over the traditional expectations of the 50s. Just as we did with Grease, I think that you can find – in the way that you play particular characters – how to make the women strong and independent.”

“Guys and Dolls” will run from Nov. 11-19 as the first show of the Players’ 2022-23 season.

“I hope [the audience] falls in love with these characters,” Roth said. “For two hours and 15 minutes we want the audience to go back to a time and place when things were simpler and to laugh and enjoy […] the beautiful world that we’re trying to create for them.”