‘Guys and Dolls’ to hit the stage

Naugatuck Teen Theater actors, from left, Josh Viltrakis, Alex Niatopsky and Billy Nicol rehearse a scene from the theater’s upcoming performance of ‘Guys and Dolls’ Oct. 29 at St. Michael’s Church in Naugatuck. The musical opens Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck Teen Theater actors, from left, Josh Viltrakis, Alex Niatopsky and Billy Nicol rehearse a scene from the theater’s upcoming performance of ‘Guys and Dolls’ Oct. 29 at St. Michael’s Church in Naugatuck. The musical opens Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Guys, dolls, and a Broadway actress are all part of the Naugatuck Teen Theater’s next production.

The teen theater’s production of “Guys and Dolls” opens Saturday.

“I think it’s such a fun show and you can tell the cast is having fun with it. I think that because the cast is having fun with it the audience will have fun with it,” said Kristen VanDerlyn, who plays the character Sarah Brown.

The show, which originally opened in 1950, focuses on two gamblers, Nathan Detroit, played by Alex Niatopsky, and Sky Masterson, played by Alex Tenbrink, and their respective love interests.

Lauren Stango plays Miss Adelaide, Detroit’s fiancé of 14 years, and VanDerlyn plays Brown, and missionary intent on dissuading people from gambling who falls for Masterson.

Stango said people will recognize some of the more popular songs in the musical, even if they haven’t seen it before.

“Even if you don’t know the show or the plot, I’m sure everyone has heard Bushel and a Peck and Luck be a Lady Tonight,” Stango said. “There are a lot of great songs and a lot of great music and very funny jokes.”

As the cast rehearsed last week at St. Michael’s Church, Niatopsky said the production is coming together nicely.

“It’s going so well. I’ve been never been part of a production that has been this ready this early,” Niatopsky said.

Director Marissa Follo Perry was also pleased with the cast as they moved towards opening day.

“They’ve definitely exceeded my expectations as far as their professionalism, which is important to me. They’ve been very focused. We’ve had a great time while keeping a professional environment,” Perry said.

Perry, a Waterbury native, brings Broadway experience to the production. She starred in Broadway and Off Broadway shows while living in New York City, including playing Tracy Turnblad in a Broadway production of Hairspray.

Before moving back to Connecticut, Perry sent out inquiries to find work with community theaters in the state. The theaters were interested, Perry said, and she chose to take her first directing job at Naugatuck Teen Theater.

“This is my first time directing anything ever. This was a scary experience, but a great place to start,” Perry said.

Perry said she’s using her experience from Broadway to help the actors really get into their characters.

“Having them get excited about it, understand it, and then perform it has been so cool and it’s a way better feeling as a director for that to happen than an actor. As an actor you don’t notice it happening, but as a director I am sitting here watching it happen and it is such a gratifying feeling. They’ve taken all my advice and all my direction and really run with it. They’re amazing and I am super proud of them,” Perry said.

VanDerlyn said Perry’s direction has been great.

“I think everything is going very well,” VanDerlyn said. “It’s probably one of the most put-together shows I have been a part of.”

“Guys and Dolls” opens Saturday at 8 p.m. at St. Michael’s Parish Hall, 210 Church St.

The theater will also present the show Nov. 8, Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 at 2 p.m., and Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for students. Tickets are available online at www.naugatuckteentheater.com and at the door.

VanDerlyn said people who come will be amazed by what they see on stage.
“People are going to be amazed by the talent that’s coming off of these kids up here on stage because we are all only in high school. It doesn’t feel like a high school production,” VanDerlyn said.

Tenbrink echoed VanDerlyn’s statements, saying everything is falling into place.

“It’s a lot of hard work. We’re all teenagers, but it feels like a real, big show,” Tenbrink said.

Perry said people should come to catch the show if they want to see a great musical.

“If people want to come and see the best musical comedy ever written and see a bunch of kids pulling it off with fully developed characters, this is the show to come see,” Perry said.