Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Guys And Dolls

In a nutshell: The best Guys & Dolls production I have seen. I have been in two, and seen several more. All of those except the fairly bland 1955 movie** were community theater shows.

This was an all-equity show, but it wasn't just the acting which set it apart, it was the directing and the male dance ensemble. There were lots of little bits - sight gags, gestures, timing which were added. Whether they were the director's idea or a cast member's contribution, it's the director's choice to keep them in. As for the male dancers, most productions leave out the Luck Be A Lady instrumental prior to the scene with the song. This show may even have lengthened it, and the guys had very energetic and precise choreography which they did a superb job at. Ditto the Cuban scenes. The following day was a 2-show day, I hope they survived.

All the leads fit their parts. Leslie was a wonderful Adelaide, and (again a director's choice) she was cast as an older stripper, not as a young dancer - which is how many of the community shows (and the movie) make the choice. The script says she has been engaged for 14 years, probably had been dancing for longer when Nathan found her. She needs to be in her mid 30's at least.

The fellow playing Nathan was also a similar age. Unlike Sinatra, he said "nu?" like he knew what it meant. He had several of the added bits. Sky annoyed me a little because he was perfect. Tall, wide receiver build, GQ model looks, great pipes, sang and danced well. His acting was just a little bit stilted,  he doesn't play heartbroken very convincingly. Sarah, who plays opposite him, is this tiny thing. I saw her after the show, she probably isn't 5 feet tall, and if she weighs 90 lbs  I'd be surprised. But when she opened her mouth to sing, Kate Smith couldn't have touched her. ENORMOUS voice. And several times she milked the long high notes for a measure or two extra. The conductor treated them as cadenzas, almost. Cute as a button, she looked delicious in her red tailored missionary uniform. Excellent acting, she eased into the required drunken stupor naturally.

My only substantive complaint about the show is they skimped on Hot Box Girls. There were only three. All three were DDG, and I am embarrassed to admit that it was hard to concentrate on Leslie while they were dancing behind her. Tall, fabulous legs, really nice butts.

Other notable cast members - Big Jule was huge. I've played this role, and had to try hard to play it as a big dummy. He showed a bit more intelligence than I think was called for. "Either way" he delivered almost as a question. It needs to be a challenge. Nicely-Nicely seemed uncomfortable replying "Nicely-Nicely" when asked, but he brought the house down with Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat. Harry The Horse was short - 5'2, maybe, and played it at the top of his voice. It was a bit much. But there were some bits as Big Jule's handler which were well done.

It was theater in the round, a PIA to light, set pieces mostly flew in, it was all very precisely managed. The cast was very aware of when they had to turn to deliver lines to all parts of the house. Later in the show the director started making use of the aisles. Not just for entrances/exits but also for scenes away from the Hot Box and Times Square.

I paid big bucks for a 2nd row seat, there were 9 seats in my row, and I was in #7 of 9. Tickled my Star Trek fandom.

Aside - on my walk to the theater from the train station I actually passed the back of the police station. It was definitely "out" what with locked gates and fences topped with razor wire.

** The movie was horribly miscast, placing non-singer Marlon Brando in the must-be-a-singer role of Sky, and singer Frank Sinatra in the doesn't-have-to-be-a-singer role of Nathan Detroit. Reversing those two roles would have made for a far better film.

After the show I found a small gaggle of people around what looked like it might be a stage door. It was. Most of the cast flew out, but Sarah gave autographs and Leslie was one of the last out (she had to change out of a wedding dress). She recognized me from my FB posts. I got a couple of selfies and a hug. Made the trip worth it.

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