This month, the BG Drama Club took to the stage to bring the classic musical “Guys and Dolls” to life. With a cast of larger-than-life characters and a romantic plot set to sweep any audience off its feet, the production was the perfect pick for this year’s students.
According to music instructor Brett Keith, “‘Guys and Dolls’ was chosen for various reasons. To start, it was a different genre than was presented the previous year. It is important for us to educate our students in the various genres and time periods of musical theatre. Secondly, we knew that this particular show had many roles to feature many different levels of talent in various ways, and also had a large ensemble so that many students could participate. And lastly, we knew that this show was a familiar classic that would appeal not only to our school community, but also to the greater Altoona area. Our musicals are not strictly performed for our family and friends, but they are presented to showcase our talent to the region.”
The production certainly did allow for a large member of participants, with a cast of around 60 and a crew of approximately 20. Months of planning, design and rehearsals go into each annual musical, pulling together students and faculty alike.
One of the cast members, Patrick Donoughe, is a BG junior who previously performed in both “The Wiz” and “The Music Man.” “I played the role of Nathan Detroit,” he said. “My experience with this production and past productions was and always is positive. I received support and encouragement from my family, peers, teachers, and parents. For this I am extremely fortunate and grateful because it allowed me to perform to the best of my ability.”
He said his character was quite a departure from his prior roles, but he pulled it off with ease. “Knowing the division of his loyalties to his gambling business associates and to his fiancé, helped me connect with the character. My inspiration came from personal experiences where I have been emotionally split between two choices.”
An enjoyable, yet fittingly challenging, experience seemed to be the result for all of the students. “As with any collaborative art form, the end result is not just a strong and artistic presentation, but the ability to work together to create something special that affects the lives, positively, of not just the people involved,” said Keith. “It is a piece of performance art, that only is a memory after the show closers. This is something the audience takes with them, but also something our students at Bishop Guilfoyle have come to cherish. Each year we see our students make memories, of a special time and place, that they themselves have created, and performed. They ultimately become a family that grows, cries, supports, succeeds, and overcomes many challenges, but they do it together. In no time like our present history is this most important and should be valued. It's not just a great performance, but the comradery and friendships that last a lifetime.”