Written by Daniella Litvak
Wiseguys and musicals–they go together. If not like peanut butter and jelly, then perhaps like avocado and chocolate. The combination might appear bizarre, but as the success of Bullets Over Broadway and Kiss Me, Kate demonstrate, it works. Perhaps the most known entry in the wiseguy/musical pantheon is the show responsible for the Broadway standard “Luck Be a Lady” —Guys and Dolls.
Set in 1930’s New York City, Guys and Dolls begin with Nathan Detroit (Marc Marger). Nathan has two problems: he has to figure out how to get his hands on $1,000.00 to afford a place for his illegal floating crap game, and he needs to delay —preferably forever —his nuptials to his fiancé of fourteen years, Adelaide (Mia Anderson). Enter Sky Masterson (Jon Korbonski): not only is Sky a frequent participant at Nathan’s game, but he lives for making high-stakes wagers about almost anything. To solve his first problem, Nathan bets Sky can’t convince missionary Sarah Brown (Ashley Elizabeth) to have dinner with him. Sky takes the bet, and various shenanigans ensue from all sides.
Guys and Dolls are, first and foremost, a breezy rom-com, which is a good thing. The show’s hearts are the Nathan/Adelaide and Sky/Sarah love stories. Analyze the relationships outside the rom-com prism and raise questions about whether to root for the aforementioned couples. Yet since the dialogue exchanges bring the laughs, the songs do the emotional lifting, and the antics involved with the craps game are zany fun, it is easy for the most part not to take things seriously and enjoy what is happening onstage.
Acting is crucial to making it all succeed. Fortunately, the entire cast brings charm, chemistry, and talent. Throughout the night, the singing is consistent and well done. Special mention goes to Jeremy Ingraham for his performance as Nicely Nicely Johnson. The Nicely-Nicely character is intended to be an audience favorite, and Ingraham more than lives up to the expectation. With the assistance of the ensemble, he really brought down the house with his rendition of “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.”
Now, what’s singing without dancing? Guys and Dolls has a lot of movement and uses it to good effect up the spectacle quotient, even if some dance sequences run a tad long. There are times when the dance and fight sequences’ choreography gets complicated and requires almost every cast member to be onstage at once. Fortunately, the action was always clear and easy to follow. The Havana sequence was awe-inspiring.
Since its debut in the 1950s, Guys and Dolls has remained a Broadway classic. Many of the show’s elements make it worthy of that distinction. If you want something fun to watch this month, head down to south Orange County and see the Laguna Niguel Community Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls.
July 26 – 29, 2018
Story7.5Acting9Set & Design8Costumes8.5Entertainment8.5
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Damon Runyan Would Have Loved It
July 25, 2018, 9:07 pm