Pierce Middle School students Nolan Eszes, as Nathan Detroit, and Jolina Huchingson, as Miss Adelaide, rehearse for “Guys and Dolls.”

Pierce Middle School students Nolan Eszes, as Nathan Detroit, and Jolina Huchingson, as Miss Adelaide, rehearse for “Guys and Dolls.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Place your bets on ‘Guys and Dolls’

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 13, 2018


GROSSE POINTE PARK — Nathan Detroit, the gambling promoter in “Guys and Dolls,” must find a place to hold his next craps game.

There’s a slight problem. The gambling man also needs $1,000 to pay garage owner Sky Masterson for game night.

Since Detroit doesn’t have the dough, he bets Masterson that he cannot get a date with Sarah Brown in lieu of the cash. It’s a roll of the dice as Detroit also deals with his fiancée, Miss Adelaide, who after a 14-year engagement wants to know if the two will ever marry.

It’s all a gamble as Pierce Middle School brings the musical “Guys And Dolls” to the stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 and 1 p.m. Nov. 17. The school’s cast of talented performers has practiced for weeks and can’t wait to act, sing and dance its way to its audience.

The Pierce auditorium stage has been transformed into the New York City skyline, circa 1950, as gangsters and gamblers run amok. “Follow the Fold,” “A Bushel and a Peck” and “Luck be a Lady” are among the songs that highlight “Guys and Dolls.”

Eighth-grader Nolan Eszes is stepping into the role of Nathan Detroit, which Frank Sinatra made famous in the film version released in 1955. The motion picture also starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine.

“It’s a really fun show, and we’re all committed to these characters,” Eszes said. “I just love being onstage with all the lights.”

Eighth-grade student Julian Leo was cast as Sky Masterson, and he is enjoying the whole theater experience.

“I really like my part,” he said. “I feel connected to him.”

The students have worked hard to perfect their characters.

“We have so many lines,” Eszes said. “I read them and repeat them to myself over and over again.”

Seventh-grade student Jane Maxwell brings to life Sarah Brown, while sixth-grader Jolina Huchingson has transformed herself — including the high-pitched New York accent — into Adelaide. Maxwell said she can’t really become Sarah Brown until she’s in full costume.

“I think that’s the most important inspiration,” she said. “I can see the character.”

“The (characters) are bigger than life,” Huchingson said.

The four lead performers agreed that Huchingson is most like her character. The four leads also have gotten to know so many other students because of the production.

“I like the people,” Leo said. “I like hanging out with everyone.”

“I made a lot of new friends I didn’t know very well,” Eszes said.

Overseeing the show are Pierce teachers Michelle Stackpoole, the show’s director and choreographer; Heather Albrecht, who has taken on the role of music director; and show producer Julie Lawrence. Stackpoole said the students are performing the junior version of “Guys and Dolls,” which means the show runs 90 minutes with no intermission. Stackpoole said she and Albrecht made the decision for Pierce to perform “Guys And Dolls” at this time.

“It’s just an American classic that hasn’t been done at Pierce in 20 years,” Stackpoole said.

Another reason was because the show needed a lot of strong male characters.

“We knew we had the students to cast the show,” Stackpoole said. “The students are doing a great job. We put on this show rather quickly with learning their lines, blocking and choreography. It’s a lot of work, but they have risen to the challenge.

“I think they’re learning the value of hard work and teamwork,” Stackpoole said. “They’re taking ownership of the show and leave with a sense of pride.”

Pierce Middle School is located at 15430 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at bit.ly/PierceMusical or gppierce.seatyourself.biz.