By Kayla Daugherty

A Broadway musical has found its way into the heart of the Director of Madonna’s Music Theatre, Barbara Wiltsie. On March 30, students in Madonna’s Lyrical Theatre will perform the musical, “Guys and Dolls.”

“‘Guys & Dolls’ has always been a favorite of mine and it is a perfect example of the classic Broadway production.  It was time for Lyric Theatre to offer to students and our audiences a show from that era,” said Wiltsie. “It encompasses a witty script and an entire score of great songs that many know.”

Set in the 1950s, Guys and Dolls displays the life of gamblers, a mission woman, and a dancer. One of the lead characters, Sarah Brown, a mission woman, is played by Madonna Music major, Brittany Matthews. She shares the love of musicals with Wiltsie.

“I have been in every musical at Madonna since 2006 and once I heard we were doing ‘Guys & Dolls’ this year I knew I had to do it,” explained Matthews. “It is one of my favorite shows because it is a Broadway classic. You cannot get any cooler than Frank Sinatra.”

While there are many veteran participants such as Matthews, who has performed Madonna since 2006, the cast is seeing fresh faces this year.

Portraying a “hot-box girl”, Gwen Higgins, a Journalism/Public Relations major, had never been in a play or musical before joining the Guys and Dolls crew. Her decision was prompted both internally and externally.

“I've seen a lot of plays before and afterwards always think about how cool it would be to be in them,” said Higgins. “My roommate is in it, and we're friends, so she encouraged me to do it. Plus my role as one of the hot box girl is a really fun one. We get to look pretty and wear cute outfits.”

Education major, Hannah Faber, also plays the role of a “hot-box girl.” This is the second play Faber has been involved in at Madonna. Deciding to participate again this year was not a question for her.

“I did it last year and absolutely loved it!” said Faber.

As an experienced director, Wiltsie sees student involvement in musicals to be beneficial for many reasons.

“What I have discovered through the years as an opera/theatre performer and instructor, is that people grow tremendously as human beings. We learn how to work with others.  Performers learn quickly that it takes hard work, commitment, practice, discipline, team work, and respect for their fellow performers to produce quality work,” she described. “All of these elements and more are so necessary as adults in any society.”

Opening night for the musical is March 30 with the show starting at 7 p.m. in Kresge Hall. There will also be performances the next two nights, March 31 and April 1.

“The cast is all so talented and this year everyone is so close, it's like a big family. It is so interesting to see how everyone portrays their role. Even the roles with no lines are coming up with show-stealing characteristics and personalities,” said Matthews. “The audience will never be bored.”



Madonna’s Lyric Theatre does Broadway