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An American Classic Shines on the Eastside

Friday, July 19, 56 student artists from the Los Angeles Music and Art School presented the American classic musical, Guys and Dolls Jr., at the East Los Angeles College Proscenium Theatre, making it the school’s 22nd anniversary of Camp MusArt.

Within five weeks, students enjoy lessons in Music, Art, Dance and Drama. Each week they explore various media such as printmaking and sculpture in Art or ballet and hip-hop in Dance. By the final week, students successfully work together to learn the artistic process – connecting movement, singing, and scenic design to tell the story of Guys and Dolls Jr. to hundreds of audience members. Together they learn the fundamental areas of theatre while building skills for on and off the stage.  To learn more and register for Camp MusArt 2020, click here.

For many of our students, an artistic experience such as this helps build more than a vocal range or character development, it also builds confidence and the ability to be comfortable in formulating individual creative ideas.

A junior adaptation of Broadway’s Guys and Dolls Jr. tells the story of how Sky Masterson, infamous gambler, known for his crapshooter games and winning bets, receives the bet of his life. In the hopes to assist in the fabrication of a crapgame, fellow gambler, Nathan Detroit sets his grandest bet yet on Sky. Challenged to take Sarah Brown, member of The Save a Soul Mission, on a date to Havana, Cuba, Sky Masterson is faced with an immense bet to win.

With the looming event of the crapgame ahead, Nathan Detroit struggles to balance both running the crapgame and finding time to marry his fiancee of 14 years, Miss Adelaide. Unexpectedly, the gambler Sky Masterson, and the “eradicator of sins”, Miss Sarah Brown find a newfound fondness for one another-away from any influence of Sky’s beloved bets and gambling.

“It was exciting to perform!” said Diana Zayas, who took on the role of Miss Adelaide. “The costumes and makeup are some of my favorite parts. Adelaide is funny, loud, and a character with a big personality.”

An array of characters brought the 1950s New York streets to life. Taking on the role of the notorious gambler, Sky Masterson, was Enzo Chavez, who has been a member of the program since 2014. Diana Zayas, who has played Young Simba, in The Lion King Jr. (2017), won the hearts of the audience as she played the role of the effervescent and dramatic Miss Adelaide. Marin Hernandez and Avi Garcia, sharing the lead roles with Chavez and Zayas, played the austere Sarah Brown and crapshooter Nathan Detroit, respectively.

Our ensemble of guys, dolls, crapshooters, and mission band, all brought the ELAC stage to life. With all the brightly colored costumes and equally vivid personalities of each and every member of the cast, LAMusArt students brought a sense of vibrant energy among all the onlookers. With numbers like “Follow the Fold”, “Luck be a Lady”, and “Sit Down you’re Rocking the Boat”, filling up the theatre space with the voices of young artists of all ages, it was easy to get lost in the show and enter the weekend with many earworms of classic tunes.

Guys and Dolls, JR. was directed by Luke Kanter with Music Director Austin Chanu, Choreographer Christina O’Brien and Prop Master Billie Rae Vison. Luke Kanter (Director), Austin Chanu (Music Director), Christina O’Brien (Choreographer), and Billie Rae Vinson (Prop Master) are to thank for our young artists remarkable presentation.

“Congratulations to our amazing cast for their incredible work this summer!” says choreographer, Christina O’Brien, “I have enjoyed discovering, training, and creating with such motivated and talented young artists. You should be so proud of yourselves for being so far along even at the beginning of your journeys as budding performers.”

The performance was stage managed by Marlene Grajeda, along with Adriana Ortega as costume supervisor, Will Chandler as lighting designer and Manuel Prieto as scenic designer.

Thank you to the East Los Angeles College Department of Theatre and all the staff, volunteers, a technical crew who played a huge role in how polished and professional all our young artists looked – the performers were all both literally and figuratively, shining on the stage that afternoon.

Enroll in any of the four disciplines in private or group classes by visiting LAMusArt is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts education organization dedicated to providing equitable access to the arts to East Los Angeles youth. Start a child on their creative path and give them the opportunity to experience success!

To view photos by CBGRPHY, please click here.


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