One might wonder if a musical based on short stories written by Damon Runyon in the 1920s and 1930s can be relevant to today's high school students.

In the case of "Guys and Dolls," to borrow a line from "Fugue for Tinhorns," one of the show's songs -- "can do."

Central Crossing High School will present "Guys and Dolls" as its spring musical April 6-8.

"I think this is a show our students are really enjoying doing," said Nathan Weaver, who teaches theater at the school. "It's just a funny romantic comedy.

"Most of them weren't familiar with 'Guys and Dolls,' but when I started talking to the cast about the show, it was a story they didn't know that they knew," Weaver said.

"I described the plot to them and they started saying that it sounded a bit like the movie 'She's All That.' Both involve two friends making a bet relating to one of them taking a girl on a date," he said.

It brings a shared realization about story lines in theater and films.

"There's really nothing new under the sun when it comes to stories and plots," he said.

"Guys and Dolls" is set in a Runyonesque New York City during the Depression era.

"One of the fun things for our cast is that they get to try out their best New York accents," Weaver said. "Some of them get to be gangsters and gamblers. This show is full of vibrant characters."

The show is an ideal choice for a high school musical, he said.

"It's got just enough dancing to make it challenging and there's some big chorus numbers, but it's not too taxing of a show," Weaver said.

Junior Gene Clark plays Sky Masterson, who accepts a bet from his friend, Nathan Detroit, a man who is looking to raise money so he can set up a high-stakes craps game.

The bet is that Sky can convince a woman of Nathan's choosing to have dinner with him in Havana. The woman he chooses is Sarah Brown, a straightlaced missionary.

"It's a fun show to do," Clark said. "The chemistry between Sky and Sarah just grows and grows, even though they are really different people. Romance wins out in the end."

Sophomore Libby Wallace, who plays Sarah, said she is enjoying immersing herself in the time and place of "Guys and Dolls."

"I just love the old-time New York setting," she said. "It's fun to portray a character from such a different time. I think the audience will enjoy it, too."

One of the most appealing aspects of the show is its 1930s lingo, Clark said.

The vintage setting is fun for the crew as well, said Adam Whitlock, who is the production's technical director.

"This show gives us the chance to build some incredible sets to portray the buildings and signs of the era," he said. "We're trying to transform the stage into 1930s New York City."

The lighthearted nature of the show translates to the cast and crew, Whitlock said.

"There's a great atmosphere," he said. "Everybody pulls together like a family. We're having a lot of fun doing this show."

"Guys and Dolls" will be presented at 7 p.m. April 6 and 7 and at 2 p.m. April 7 and 8. Tickets are $8. Admission for Top 55 card-holders is free.

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