The third time’s the charm for Tim Baeder, 18, who’s playing the male lead in Laurel Mills Playhouse’s production of “Guys and Dolls.”
“It was one of the first shows I ever did, and I really wanted the part of Sky [Masterson],” says Baeder, who lost out to his older brother, Michael, at summer camp when he was 10 and ended up playing Nathan Detroit instead.
Foiled again, Baeder also lost out to Michael when they performed the musical at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt earlier this year.
But now Baeder has his shot at the long-coveted role.
“My brother gets to watch me do the show,” he says with a laugh about finally prevailing.
“Guys and Dolls,” which won the Tony award for best musical in 1950 with songs like “Luck, Be a Lady Tonight,” tells the tale of Sarah Brown, a young woman who tries to reform a bunch of inveterate gamblers on Times Square by opening a mission.
She falls in love with Masterson, who usually wins his high-stakes bets until he involves her in a scheme to finance a floating crap game.
Running the game just ahead of the police is Detroit, who has promised for years to marry Adelaide, a show girl who refuses to give up on her foot-dragging fiance.
“It’s one of the golden-age musicals, and they’re pretty strong in terms of plot,” says director Jocelyn Knazik, who, like Baeder, is venturing into a new role.
An acting veteran of Laurel Mill, she also has embarked on her first major directing job.
“It’s the first time I’m doing a big show,” says Knazik, a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is majoring in biology and theater.
“It’s 30 kids in full costume with full lights,” she says about the challenge. “It’s a good thing that I know the [Laurel Mill] theater so well and how it operates.”
Besides coordinating the three-month rehearsal schedule, she also has gone behind the scenes, “working on the set, costumes and props all at once,” she says.
“It’s been a learning experience,” says Knazik, who has gotten some help along the way from her parents her mother, Patti Knazik, the show’s producer and part of the costume crew, and her father, Stu Knazik, the music director.
“There’s no escape when I go home,” she laughs.
“Guys and Dolls” also is a new experience for Danielle McCants, a rising senior at St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, who plays the part of Adelaide.
“I think it’s a pretty cool musical,” says McCants, who until now has done most of her singing in the school chorus.
“I wasn’t sure at first, but as I continued to read it, saw the [1955 Frank Sinatra] movie and with the rehearsals, it started to come to life.”
McCants says one of her favorite songs is “Marry the Man Today,” which she sings with Sarah.
“It’s a girl-power song of that time about getting married,” she says.
Also on her list of favorites is “Sue Me,” a duet with Detroit.
“It’s a fun song to sing,” McCants says. “I kind of wish I had started all this sooner.”