NEW CASTLE — (Video highlights appear below the story.)
They might not might be listening to Frank Sinatra on their iPods, but these kids are the real deal.
The cast members of “Guys and Dolls,” Shenango High’s spring musical production, are living their roles in every sense of the word.
“My character has a really thick New York accent,” said senior Taylor Manolis, who snagged the coveted part of nightclub singer Adelaide. “I catch myself talking like that even when we’re not at practice. Once you get into character, it’s hard sometimes to get out of it.
“And I just love Frank Sinatra,” she added. “He’s totally one of my favorites.”
Manolis is not alone.
All of the main characters admitted to an affinity for old movies in general and in particular, Sinatra, a star of the 1955 musical film that also starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine. Sinatra played gambler Nathan Detroit in the film, which featured a plot based on the activities of New York petty criminals and professional gamblers in the late 1940s.
Detroit is played by Donnie Mangino, a senior in his fifth production at Shenango. He hopes to continue his acting career at Clarion University, where he plans to major in English.
“Nathan Detroit is definitely a sly guy who runs a gambling ring,” Mangino said. “All the gamblers rely on him and he has to find a place to conduct his games. He is very emotional, he worries a lot and is extremely nervous.
“I’ve always admired Frank Sinatra and was really thrilled to get the chance to play this role.”
Anthony Ventura landed the role of Sky Masterson, a gambler challenged to a key wager by Detroit. Ventura, a senior appearing in his second musical, is headed to Youngstown State University to major in musical production and voice.
Ventura is no stranger to Guys and Dolls — his cousin, Travis Ascione, played the role of Masterson in a production of the musical two years ago.
“I just loved this musical from the first time I saw it,” he said. “When my cousin played Sky, I had it in my mind that I hoped I would get the chance to play him someday.
“Playing a role such as this becomes your lifestyle. You find yourself living it, even when you’re not at practice.”