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Guys and Dolls leaps to life through dance
COURTESY PHOTO Adelaide and the Hot Box Dolls strike a pose during an early morning dance rehearsal this week. Pictured are: Mary Little, Hutchinson (center) who plays Adelaide in the musical Guys and Dolls. Her Hot Box Dolls are front: Lily Stansbury, Lyons and Anna Cortez, El Paso, Texas and back: Katie Lumbert, Wichita; Aubrey Anderson, Sterling; and Rachel Thomson, Hutchinson. Thomson is also the choreographer for the Hot Box numbers. The Sterling College Music Theatre production will be presented next week.

STERLING – While many regard the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls to be “the perfect musical” with its incredibly funny book, vivid characters, and warm-hearted romance, it simply won’t come alive without the energy and excitement of choreography and staging that literally leaps off the stage. To achieve that goal, Sterling College Music Theatre has once again enlisted New York City-based choreographer Travis Nesbitt. 

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Oct. 12, 13, and 14 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15 in Culbertson Auditorium on the college campus. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available online at or at the door before each performance. 

A fable about Broadway, Guys and Dolls is based on Damon Runyon’s rough-and-tumble stories of New York City circa 1950. Frank Loesser’s dynamic score features song favorites such as “Luck be a Lady,” “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and the title song.

This is Nesbitt’s seventh show in five years at Sterling. He has worked with this year’s senior class in five different shows. “I have seen 100% growth in the students here at Sterling,” Nesbitt said. “They are super comfortable with the way I work now and trust me to throw them material that makes them look awesome.”

In order to stage a show at Sterling, Nesbitt comes for a quick visit – sometimes as little as 1.5 days to stage everything. The time is spent in intensive 3-to-5-hour rehearsals. “It’s a very quick in and out, then I hand off to Rachel.” Dance Captain/co-choreographer senior student Rachel Thomson continues working and honing his numbers while staging some of her own.  

Thomson said, “After working with Travis for 3.5 years I’ve learned how to retain choreography at a quick pace which will give me the ability to clean it once he is gone. I am pleased how much I have grown as a dancer since starting with Travis. He has been such a great mentor to me and has challenged me as a dancer show after show.”

“We are blessed to have Travis work with us,” Thomson added. Nesbitt connected with Sterling College Music Theatre through Sterling music faculty member Marisa Callan, who is serving as both the music director and stage director for Guys and Dolls. The two grew up together in Norco, Calif. They both had music teacher parents and often played opposite one another in school productions and share a love of bringing music theatre to life.