>It’s the play I just can’t escape…

>”When you see a slob get a good steady job, you can bet that he’s doing it for some doll…”

In case you don’t instantly recognize that line, it’s from Guys and Dolls…or as I call it, the play I just can’t escape no matter how hard I try.

I saw a production of it last evening at from the local theater group in Smyrna. Over the past few years, I’ve been to a good number of their productions and have enjoyed all of them. They’re all extremely well done and I’m always impressed by the variety of productions they choose and perform.

After going to most of the plays last year, I decided this year to indulge in a season ticket. I’ll admit a big part of it is to have a reservation for the last show of the year, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, which they did a few years ago to sold-out shows.

When I saw the first production was Guys and Dolls, I chuckled to myself. It seems that for the past ten years, this is a play I just can’t escape.

My freshman year at UT, I found the Wesley Foundation and every year, the Wesley Foundation puts on a spring production. My freshman year, that production was Guys and Dolls. I wanted to be involved in working on the play somehow but wasn’t comfortable being on stage since I’m self-conscious about singing in front of a large group of people–even as part of the “moving scenery” that’s needed for the play. Luckily, the director found a role for me–stage manager. So, I got to see Guys and Dolls a lot…as to know most of the play backward and forwards. Not just for my responsibilities as stage manager, but also because you see and hear it rehearsed and then performed so many times, you just start randomly throwing out lines about cheesecake and strudel to anyone who comes by. You get funny looks, but then I’m used to those by now.

I’ve got a lot of fond memories of that production. Barry, my best-friend, was the director and he did a fantastic job. It was those hours of working together and getting to know each other that were the first steps to a friendship that I see lasting for the rest of our lives.

As I watched last night, I kept flashing back to the people I knew at Wesley in their roles. Barry’s wife (fiancee at the time), L was Sister Sarah and there were a few other people in various roles. I have to admit that I still “hear” those people at Wesley’s interpretation of lines and characters when I see the play. And I’ve seen it a few times since. I know Barry did a production of it at Oak Ridge Playhouse and I went to see it there–I believe I went on the “free” dress rehearsal night when family and friends were invited. My ex hadn’t seen it and when it came through where we were living, I got her tickets for us to go…and behaved myself, by not reciting the entire play along with the actors.

And then, I saw it last night…and took a long trip down memory lane. Of course, I enjoyed the peformance this time around but it’s hard to see, for example, someone playing Sky Masterson and not hear Bob McLeary’s take on the role. (If you’re out there Bob and this brings you by…howdy). Or anyone else from those Wesley Foundation days I’ve lost track of….howdy. 🙂

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