The Grace University music department presented “Guys and Dolls” as its annual winter musical. Hundreds of people took in the show with the message of redemption – reaching out to those who need Christ and meeting them where they are to share the Gospel.
Following are photos from the show and a letter from the director, Mackenzie Dehmer.
Letter from the Director
When Dr. Zielke and I first started talking about what we wanted to say with Guys and Dolls, what our message would be, my initial thoughts led me to a theme of redemption. Here is a group of “lowlife” characters who come to a place of repentance and honest living. Well, most of them. But in the weeks that followed, as I sat pouring over the script and falling in love with every one of these fantastic characters, there was a line toward the end that really stuck out to me. If you were to cough, you might miss it: “This whole meeting the result of gambling! It shows how good can come out of evil.” Now, I don’t think the character is saying that we should rob from the rich to feed the poor or anything like that. Nor do I think she really wants her mission workers to go out gambling every night, and if you think of it that way, the whole thing seems ridiculous. Instead, I think it brings up some interesting points.
First, here is poor Miss Sarah Brown, wanting so desperately to save all of Broadway and never reaching anybody. She is so caught up in pointing out the sins of others and avoiding what she deems unrespectable that she never takes the time to really REACH OUT to the people she is trying to save. Enter Sky: a gambler, and unlikely hero, who wins over the icy Miss Sarah.
Together, they are able to bring the seedy underbelly of Broadway to the mission. It’s not until she enters his world that she is able to open her heart and mind to these people. This is how God calls us to exist in our “Broadway” as well. We cannot stay in our “missions” and expect to reach the “gamblers” of this world. Secondly, we see “good coming out of evil” in every one of our unsavory characters. They are flawed, but decent, people: tough on the surface and shamelessly sentimental underneath. I think this is what makes this show so timeless. We recognize a little of ourselves in Sarah, Sky, Nathan, Adelaide and the rest of Runyon’s characters. I think it challenges us to see the good in people and go that extra mile to relate to someone we might have avoided in the past. What’s more, the show is written so well, we hardly realize that we are learning something. If theater is art imitating life, then “Guys and Dolls” is my Mona Lisa. Enjoy!