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Review: Greater Boston Stage Company Has a Winning Hand with Well Sung GUYS AND DOLLS

The musical runs through June 30 in Stoneham

By: Jun. 20, 2024
Review: Greater Boston Stage Company Has a Winning Hand with Well Sung GUYS AND DOLLS  Image
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The classic 1950 musical “Guys and Dolls” has a wonderfully well written, funny, and familiar score, not to mention a terrific book, that make productions of the enduring favorite always worth a look and a listen.

The well sung, if less than full mounting of the multi-Tony Award-winning musical – with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling – at Stoneham’s Greater Boston Stage Company through June 30 is no exception.

Under the swift-paced direction of Ceit Zweil, and with music direction by the always noteworthy Dan Rodriguez, a terrific 14-member cast brings the story based on two Damon Runyon tales, “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure,” to life.

The story follows Sarah Brown (an appealing, sweet-voiced Lisa Kate Joyce) and her band of Save-A-Soul missionaries, who are spreading the gospel on the streets of lower Manhattan while Nathan Detroit (a winning Arthur Gomez) and his crap-shooting cronies have a wholly different mission in mind.

Nathan needs $1,000 for a covert crap game in a friend’s garage, and comes up with the brilliant idea of betting gambler Sky Masterson (the smooth-voiced, surefooted Jared Troilo) that Sky can’t get Sarah to go to Havana with him. Nathan imagines Sarah is the last person who would ever head south with a guy like Sky, but Sky persuades her to join him after he promises to send twelve sinners to her midnight prayer meeting. Troilo and Joyce do fine work on the love songs “I’ll Know” and “My Time of Day/I’ve Never Been in Love Before.”

Well paired with Gomez is talented actor and singer Sara Coombs as the determined, patient-beyond-patient Miss Adelaide. Coombs is a daffy delight on her character’s humor-driven songs, including “A Bushel and a Peck” and an “Adelaide’s Lament” that will have some wanting to pass her a box of tissues.

When Adelaide stands up to Nathan for standing her up on the night of their elopement, wondering if they’ll ever wed after an engagement of many years, Coombs and Gomez all but steal the show with the laugh-inducing “Sue Me.” They’re not only comic relief – they’re comedy gold.

As small-time gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Stephen Markarian evokes the late, great Stubby Kaye, who originated the role on Broadway in 1950 and reprised it in the 1955 feature film adaptation. Like Kaye, Markarian’s Nicely-Nicely doesn’t just walk through his scenes – he slides, with one foot well in front of the other. And Markarian’s clear voice ensures that he lands every magnificent lyric perfectly on “Fugue for Tinhorns,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.”

Well matched to the show’s immensely enjoyable score, Zweil’s choreography adds needed bounce to what sometimes seems more like a concert staging than a full-out production – partly due to an onstage orchestra that, while good, has too few players to give the score its customary command.

Jon Savage’s scenic designs are similarly sparse, with art panels floating above a set consisting primarily of wooden chairs that stand, or maybe that should be sit, in for just about everything. Deirdre Gerrard’s costumes for the leads are sartorially splendid – with the men in double-breasted suits and white bucks. The ensemble attire has a thrift-shop look less well suited to the guys and dolls of 1950s New York.

Photo caption: Arthur Gomez and Sara Coombs in the Greater Boston Stage Company production of “Guys and Dolls.” Photo by Gillian Gordon.


frankiejr0513 on 6/24/2024
I saw this show over the weekend (6/22) and I could not believe the quality of talent at this theater. Stand outs were Sara Coombs (as usual) as Miss Adelaide, Arthur Gomez as Detroit, Jared Troilo as Sky and whoever played Sarah Brown (sorry I didn't catch if it was the casted actor or the stand-by, but they were fantastic). Although those actors were stand outs, this doesn't diminish the well-casted other actors as they all performed great! The singing was phenomenal as the songs in this show are not easy to sing, these actors performed them at ease. Loved the show, loved the actors, love the theater. This little theater is such a great place to see a show that is just outside Boston with talent on par to any of the Broadway national tours that travel through Boston and I'm just a person who loves musical theater and in no way connected to this theater or any of the actors. I see shows at several of the areas theaters from Providence, Worcester to Ogunquit, not to mention frequent weekends to NYC. This theater is a hidden gem that I've discover and seen several shows over the past few years. Sure beats going into Boston or traveling over an hour to see a show. I highly recommend seeing a show here, you will most definitely be back.


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