Through the sweltering heat of August, Chantilly High School students practiced for two weeks, beginning their long preparation for the school's fall musical, "Guys and Dolls."
Created by Frank Loesser, "Guys and Dolls" is a fast-paced romantic comedy of illegal crap shooters and their ridiculous escapades. Gambler Nathan Detroit bets his friend and fellow crap-shooter Sky Masterson that he can't make the next girl he sees fall in love with him. Ironically, the next girl Masterson sees is Miss Sarah Brown, a good-at-heart girl out to reform society.
The two enjoy a hilarious courting ritual full of the expected complications and with more bets, eventually leading to a heartwarming ending. "The cast has grown to be very close friends, since we spend most of our time after school and on weekends together. It really helps our chemistry onstage," said junior Jae Laroya, who plays the role of Sky Masterson. Cast and crew have spent much time together during and outside of rehearsal to get to know each other, and bond as an ensemble.
"I have been extremely satisfied with how quickly the students have picked up on the choreography and harmonies required to put on a show like this, the students have really come a long way," said third-year director Shannon Khatcheressian, who received her BA in theater from Virginia Tech. Khatcheressian chose the musical for the fall show, and is assisted by vocal director, and sister-in-law, Molly Khatcheressian and choreographer Rebekah Frye. Molly Khatcheressian earned her bachelor's degree in music from UCF, and her masters from UVA, and currently teaches music at Longfellow Middle School. Frye received her degrees in English and dance from Virginia Tech, along with a master's of theater education. She currently teaches at Robinson Secondary school, participating in community theater in her spare time. Along with the theater students, the orchestra will be providing music for the show under the direction of orchestra teacher Aaron Mynes.
"Casting the show was very difficult; I was very impressed with the amount of talent at auditions, so I decided to double cast the leads to give more students opportunities," said the director on her decision to double cast the show. The students of Chantilly High School rehearse every day after school, working hard to perfect the timing and effect of the show. In addition to acting rehearsals, the students devoted extra time to the show for vocal and dance rehearsals. "We've been working really hard to make this show come together. Even during down time at rehearsals we run lines, clean up the dances, and perfect the vocal harmonies on our own," said senior Katie Sharon, a dancer in the show.
Despite various delays due to bad weather and other complications, the cast and crew of the show are excited to perform for the public from Nov. 12-15. "It has been a lot of hard work so far, but it is starting to come together. It will be so exciting when we actually open because our parents and the community will finally get to see what we have put our lives into, for the past three months," said senior Stephanie Morrison, who plays the role of a "hot box chickie" in the show.
Information on tickets and the show is available by calling 703-222-6683.