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‘Guys and Dolls’ performance will be part of gala celebrating Niagara University theater

LEWISTON – American theater favorite “Guys and Dolls” will be on stage at Niagara University from Thursday to May 3.

The Friends of Niagara University Theatre also will celebrate 51 years of Niagara University Theatre with a performance of the musical at its 30th annual gala at 4 p.m. May 2 .

“Guys and Dolls” is a 1950 Tony Award-winning show filled with unforgettable songs with a quirky cast of gamblers, gangster and gals. It has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and is based on short stories by Damon Runyon.

The show is set in a fictitious New York City and tells the story of gambler Nathan Detroit, who is strapped for cash and makes plans to set up the biggest craps game in town.

The show will be on stage in the Leary Theatre in the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center in Clet Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday and 30; at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and May 1. Matinees will be at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, (with post-show discussion), and May 3.

University theater performance majors in the cast hail from New York, Pennsylvania, California and Canada and include:

Alexander Utz (Nathan Detroit), Kathleen Macari (Miss Adelaide), Joshua Ranallo (Sky Masterson), Elena Victoria Feliz (Sarah Brown), Mark Pietruszka (Nicely-Nicely Johnson), Matthew Dell’Olio (Benny Southstreet), Peter S. Raimondo (Rusty Charlie), Colin Reboy (Arvide Abernathy), Josephine Lazusky (General Cartwight), Brittany Shannon (Agatha), Dylan Zalikowski (Big Jule), Nathanial W. C. Higgins (Harry the Horse), Kevin Trala (Lieutenant Brannigan), and Sydney Buchholtz, Heather Casseri, Clarissa Maloy and Kayla McSorley (Hot Box Girls).

Also in the cast are: Sarah Emmerling and Kalee George (Salvation Army Band) and company members Krista Cantrell, Shelby Ehrenreich, MacKenzie Gildemeyer, Andrew Hayes, Brett Klaczyk, Matthew Myers and Steven Sass. Stevie Lukaszewski, is stage manager, assisted by Mersedez Hoover and John Palesh III.

Musical direction will be provided by Cristen Gregory, adjunct professor of voice, and choreography will be provided by Terri Filips Vaughan, associate professor/choreographer. Assistant choreographer is alumna Brittany Gabryel. Fight choreography is by Adriano Gatto, artist-in-residence and recruiter. Costumes will be by Associate Professor Maureen T. Stevens, assistedby theater performance major Bradeen Walders. Scenic design will be by Associate Professor David Dwyer, assisted by Yang Di Yu. Lighting design is by Nathan Van Remmen and sound design by Glenn Bernardis.

Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for Niagara employees, seniors and non-students. Niagara students are entitled to one free ticket. They can be purchased online at: or at the theater box office from 2:20 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays or one hour prior to curtain, by phone at 286-8685 or by email at

The Friends of Niagara University gala’s matinee production will be at 4 p.m. May 2 and will be followed by a cocktail reception, dinner and auction at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston. Tickets are $150 per person or $175 for those who wish to be listed at patrons.

Funds raised by the annual gala will benefit the theater program and be used to purchase equipment and supplies, as funding student attendance at workshops and professional guest artists on campus.

The event chairman is John T. Overbeck, Class of 1975, a faculty fellow in Niagara’s College of Business Administration and supporter of the theater. He also acted in a number of productions. Auction committee co-chairs are Friends board members Maria Arena of Clarence, Pamela LeCuyer of Getzville, Margaret Lacki of Grand Island and Adair M. Saviola of Buffalo, who is also president of the Friends board. Russell Papia of Williamsville, vice president of the board, is the dinner committee chairman.

More information and tickets are available by contacting Jennifer Stahlman at 286-8483.