Student of Wiregrass Ranch High (WRH) may not have known who Nathan Detroit or Sarah Brown was before WRH’s drama department brought a classic to life the weekend of March 16-18 — when the school’s drama department performed the musical“Guys and Dolls” — but anyone who attended those performances surely does now. Originally produced in 1950 by Feuer and Martin, “Guys and Dolls” has become one of the most recognizable musicals in Broadway history after winning the 1950 Tony award for Best Musical.

Drama teacher Margret Peacock produced WRH’s version of the musical. “This was our first big musical, and I wanted something with a big name, and a big cast,” she says. The shows were held at the Center for the Arts on the campus of Wesley Chapel High.

“Guys and Dolls” introduces flawed and lovable characters like Sky Masterson (Grant Moldin), a renowned gambler and womanizer; Sarah Brown (Ashley Shalna), the missionary “doll” who is trying to save everyone’s souls; Nathan Detroit (Tyler Baughn), who runs the oldest, established, permanent, floating craps game in town and his fiancé, Hot Box star Adelaide (Nicolette Doria).

The planning for the extravagant show began at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Mrs. Peacock’s cast spent four months rehearsing songs and dances. “I’m so impressed with the level all of the students rose to,” she says, adding that most of the drama students also are very involved with other school activities, such as orchestra, wrestling or tennis.

Peacock notes that the three performances of WRH’s “Guys and Dolls” brought in between 1,400 and 1,600 attendees combined, and raised an estimated $1,500. She already is at work on next year’s production of “Bye, Bye Birdie,” a popular 1960 musical comedy. “These large musicals take a lot of planning, and we look forward to an even bigger success from next year’s show,” say Peacock. — JM

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