By Shannon Hoyt —
The ‘50s evoked change, immersing the country with one big boom. In a similar fashion, the Menomonie Theatre Guild (MTG) intends to do the same, but maybe not on such a grand scale.
MTG is presenting a ‘50s classic, Guys and Dolls, by invigorating the community with music, style, and, of course, an insight into America’s history.
Nold, Tharp, Evensen, Kneeland, Dunst, Drzakowski, Mercil, Berrier: Do any of these names ring a bell? Well, each name represents not only the guys and dolls of the musical, but the professors and faculty working for the University of Wisconsin–Stout.
The show is bringing out a new side to our Stout professors. A side some never thought possible.
“Nathan is somebody who wants an exciting life, but doesn’t really want to take a risk,” said Associate Professor of English, Kevin Drzakowski. “I’d say I am like that a lot too. I like to have the appearance of a thrilling life, when in fact I am really more of a boring, bland sort of guy. I am a professor after all.”
“I was trying to play Nathan Detroit as very cool. I am not very cool. I am what is known in Latin as a dorkus malorkus, or just a plain dork.”
Guys and Dolls is brimming with character. And as the story progresses, the characters begin to unravel.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Seth Berrier, depicts Sky Masterson, a typical ‘50s gangster.
“Sky is cool, he is suave, he is the ladies’ man,” said Berrier. “How I relate to [him], I don’t know about suave and cool. I don’t know if I could pull that off, but I can pretend.”
“I relate to the idea that he’s got redeemable qualities.”
Suave. Cool. Gangster. What else could our professors’ emulate? The ‘50s was a time of celebration and happiness, and dancing.
Adelaide, played by Beth Jean Olson, and The Hot Box Girls represent the ‘50s with an incendiary approach. What’s a musical without a little seduction?
Maura Dunst, a lecturer in the English and Philosophy Department, is taking on the role of Mimi, a ‘50s burlesque dancer.
“I don’t consider myself a dancer. I certainly don’t dress provocatively. I don’t really do any of that,” said Dunst. “My job is pretty respectable, but it’s been fun to step out of my comfort zone.”
Guys and Dolls is a production consistent with accuracy. The music, the costumes, the dialogue run parallel to the ‘50s. Melissa Kneeland, directing the MTG production, is something of a history buff. She intends to bring the community back in time. As for our professors, their personalities are uplifted on stage.
The performances will be Feb. 26, 27 and March 4, 5 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 27, 28 and March 5, 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 dollars for students/seniors.