Smith steals show as Adelaide in JCA’s ‘Guys and Dolls’

JOLIET – Dreams do come true at Joliet Catholic Academy. For senior Alessa Smith of Shorewood, her dream was to play a certain character who sings her way through boyfriend troubles: Miss Adelaide.

Alessa Smith (from left), Nick Humbles, Theresa Gallo and Sam Juveland pose after Saturday night's performance of "Guys and Dolls." (Photo by Bill Scheibe)

“I have wanted to play Adelaide since I was in sixth grade,” Smith said. “My favorite musical is ‘Guys and Dolls’ and when I got the part, I was absolutely thrilled – just to be living the character and the songs.”

She owned both.

As they say on Broadway, Smith stole the show from March 15-17 as JCA staged its annual spring musical, “Guys and Dolls,” at the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theatre in downtown Joliet.

Billed as a musical fable, “Guys and Dolls” was performed by members of the JCA Drama Club, which is moderated by Jennifer Szynal. In her sixth year as a teacher at JCA, Szynal saw the future for Smith.

“I really hope she continues in college,” Szynal said of Smith. “I know campus ministry is her passion, but drama is true to her heart, and she captured the part of Adelaide so well. She always gives 100 percent.”

“Somebody said, ‘It’s not a hobby, it’s a passion,’ and this was a passion for me,” said Smith, who plans on majoring in youth ministry at Grace College in Indiana. “I got to fulfill one of my biggest dreams.”

Joining Smith in the “Guys and Dolls” spotlight for JCA were Wilmington’s Nick Humbles as Nathan Detroit, Naperville’s Sam Juveland as Sky Masterson and Naperville’s Theresa Gallo as Sarah Brown.

“It was an unbelievable honor just to play that difficult part,” Humbles said of the role made famous by Frank Sinatra. “I was really worried about it, but I gave it my all and we had so much fun together.”

“I think it was the best experience I have had at JCA yet,” Juveland confirmed. “This is the best cast that I have worked with on any production, and absolutely – being the suave, cool guy is a great role.”

Gallo, a senior who currently plays on the varsity girls soccer team, perhaps had the toughest juggling act in handling her academic load, the spring musical and the start of the spring sports season at JCA.

“I’ve had no time for myself at all,” she said. “But there’s nothing like this. It can be so stressful, but then when showtime comes, you’re ready. And I love playing the part where I get wild with my character.”

Five productions were staged in all, with a Wednesday preview for Junior High students and an understudy showing on Saturday afternoon. Szynal was definitely pleased after Saturday night’s effort.

“It’s amazing when everybody steps up,” she said. “A musical has so many facets that you have to make sure everybody is on top of their game. We have so many talented individuals who can sing and dance.”

Szynal, the director, was helped by assistant director Tim Vollmer, vocal director Jamie Szynal and choreographer Jeni Donahue-Smith. Joe Burke, the Religion Department chair at JCA, also made a cameo appearance as Angie the Ox. Burke’s son was once a part of the drama program.

Also appearing in JCA’s spring musical, listed in alphabetical order with hometowns:

Joseph Alvarez (Romeoville), Robert Babich (Channahon), Antoniao Bouie Jr. (Joliet), Mary Rose Bruno (Frankfort), Kirsten Carlson (Joliet), Andrew Casey (Joliet), Regan Dougherty (Naperville), Francesca Embrey (Romeoville), Lauren Faber (Joliet), Alyssa Folino (Romeoville), Victoria Ford (Romeoville), Colleen Fritz (Naperville), Rafael Garcia (Joliet), Anthony Gomez (Plainfield) and Jessica Gnutek (Joliet).

Plus, Megan Lemke (Plainfield), Junica Lugod (Romeoville), Peter McWherter (Plainfield), Elizabeth Minarich (Joliet), Lauren Osuch (Joliet), Michelle Poplawski (Joliet), Katie Rejsek (Bolingbrook), Mary Ronchetti (Joliet), Sam Ryan (Wilmington), Shannon Ryan (Minooka), Jasmine Smith (Joliet), Cailea Styx (Joliet), Modesty Tan (Joliet), Tiffany Taylor (Joliet), Lucas Tyler (Joliet), Damian Wahl (Joliet) and Meagan Williams (Bolingbrook).

While the cast of “Guys and Dolls” mixed young and old, utilizing seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen in main and supporting roles, Smith enjoyed her final play, her dream come true, at JCA.

“It’s an experience,” Smith said, “that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I loved every minute of it.”

— Bill Scheibe, Director of Communications

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