In one life, Chris Lancaster is a straightforward, churchgoing, career-driven young man. In another, Lancaster is a crook, involved in illegal business and unable to get his life in order.
Lancaster, 18, a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, said learning to play an immoral character had its difficulties.
But Lancaster is now ready.
The musical "Guys and Dolls" opens Thursday at the Huntington Beach Union High School District Auditorium.
Lancaster plays Nathan Detroit, a troubled man who runs illegal craps games in New York in the '50s.
"It was difficult, but at the same time, I really like how in the end, there's a good message, because he does give it up, and I like how it promotes marriage and good, traditional American values," Lancaster said.
The musical is Marina's fourth production since teacher and choir director Eric Graham came to the school four years ago.
"We didn't see a reason why we shouldn't have a school-wide activity like a musical once a year," Graham said.
"Guys and Dolls" is a musical based on two short stories by Damon Runyon, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.
"It's one of the more widely recognized traditional-style musicals like 'The Sound of Music' and 'Oklahoma!', and it's from that same era of musicals," Graham said.
The show contains the classic songs "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat," among others.
The students were in rehearsal for about 10 weeks, mainly at Marina's cafeteria. They measured the district auditorium and taped the floor of the cafeteria to make sure they stayed within those limits. Rehearsals went from three days a week to five as the play neared, Graham said.
And without the parents' and the district's support, it couldn't have been possible, Lancaster said.
Parents also helped raise funds and worked on the costumes and sets.
"This is quite special," Graham said. "A lot of time and effort was put into it, and we think it deserves to be out there for people to see and appreciate what Marina High School has to offer to the community."
If You Go
What: "Guys and Dolls"
Where: Huntington Beach High School auditorium, 1905 Main St.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday
Information: Call (714) 893-6571, ext. 4413 or visit http://www.marinatickets.com