Just a junior at Wayzata High School, Timothy Radermacher already is a Blue Water Theatre Company stage veteran, having appeared in productions like "Les Miserables," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Anything Goes."

This week he will be appearing as Nathan Detroit, one of the leads in "Guys and Dolls," the Broadway classic that Blue Water is staging.

"I enjoy comedic acting and it's a very funny role," Radermacher said of Detroit, a gambler who makes a bet that sets the musical's plot in motion.

Summer theater season in Minnesota is in full swing, and Blue Water, a five-year-old Wayzata theater company that specializes in providing opportunities for young performers, is working with students from about 15 metro-area high schools to stage "Guys and Dolls" which opens Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Performers who auditioned for the play in mid-May have just three and a half weeks to pull the production together. They must learn choreographed dance routines, memorize their lines and learn the words to songs such as "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."

Charlie Leonard, the theater's director, said "Guys and Dolls" was selected as this summer's production since it has large-group song and dance numbers that allow more actors to be involved.

"Obviously it's a Broadway classic," Leonard said of the musical. "For me it's meaningful because it was the first show I ever saw on Broadway."

About three quarters of the musical's cast are returning Blue Water actors, Leonard said. The others are new to the group, which has been rehearsing daily at Wayzata's Central Middle School.

By the end of the musical's run, most will be friends, Leonard said.

"All the songs and dances that they learn, the funny thing is, the thing that ends up sticking is the friendships they make here," Leonard said. "I've had many of them tell me some of their best friends are the people they met here."

That's certainly true for Radermacher, who says he's gotten to know actors from schools like Orono and Hopkins and also upperclassmen from Wayzata High School that he didn't really know well before rehearsals began.

"Everyone here is so genuine, so welcoming and very professional," he said.

Taylor Cranfield, also a junior at Wayzata High School, joked that she would likely be at home "eating or sitting on a couch" if she weren't cast in Blue Water's summer production.

Cranfield, who's appeared in seven Blue Water productions, is playing a character named "Mimi" and also is one of the Hot Box dancers in "Guys and Dolls."

Like Radermacher, she said she enjoys the camaraderie that Blue Water offers young actors like herself. Being in "Guys and Dolls" is a bonus.

"That's why musicals are so great," Cranfield said. "You've got the whole family up there singing and dancing."

Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469