BWW Reviews: Weathervane Rolls Winner on GUYS AND DOLLS

By: Jun. 02, 2013
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Part of the challenge of presenting a classic musical like GUYS AND DOLLS is trying to keep something that everyone is familiar with coming across like a stale piece of bread. Since its Broadway premiere in 1950, nearly every high school Drama Department and community theater has taken the shot at the Frank Loesser-penned musical for nearly six decades. "Luck Be A Lady" has become a calling card for Las Vegas and many artists including duets by Frank Sinatra and Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and Dee Snider and Clay Aiken have tried their hand at the song.

However, judging by its opening week performance of GUYS AND DOLLS, the Weathervane Playhouse has no trouble in bringing the two-act musical back for another encore. Director Adam Karsten leads a 24-person cast through a very spirited performance that reminds audiences why the show is successful in the first place.

GUYS AND DOLLS, the opening show in the Newark theater's summer calendar, offers four final performances on 8 p.m.. June 5-8 at 100 Price Road in Newark.

David Patterson, an acting major at Carnegie Mellon University, brings energy and charisma to the role of Sky Masterson. Masterson, a cocky, street-wise high roller, takes a $1,000 bet with Nathan Detroit (Derek Brookens) that he can get the prudish Sarah Brown (Natalie Jensen) to accompany him on a trip to Havana.

Jensen, an Otterbein graduate, is perfectly cast as Brown, a world weary sergeant in the Salvation Army. Her facial expressions in her "I'll Know" duet with Patterson tell the story of a woman trying to fight off the affection she feels for a man who is so completely different from her.

Detroit and his long-time fiancee Miss Adelaide (Mimi Klipstine-Dick) are on the other side of the relationship coin. The two have been engaged for 14 years but the mixture of Detroit's reluctance and his devotion to his "floating" craps game have kept the two away from the alter. Brookens, an Ohio Northern University graduate, provides a comic take on Detroit and his struggles to keep his craps one step ahead of the New York City police department while juggling his relationship with Adelaide.

Klipstine-Dick, a Wright State music theater major, is part Audrey from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and part Fran Drescher in her Weathervane debut as Adelaide. Klipstine-Dick presents a character who is both vulnerable and strong-willed as she battles through a host of psychosomatic illnesses as she longs to hear the wedding bells chime.

A variety of strong supporting players including Anthony Murphy (Nicely-Nicely Johnson), Brian Hupp (Benny Southstreet) and Frederick Luper (Arvide Abernathy) carry the show through its many Broadway standards including "Luck Be A Lady," "A Bushel and A Peck," and "Havana." Murphy's rendition of "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" and Karen Sieber's choreography of the "Crapshooters' Ballet" are among the show's many highlights.

Throw into the mix a robust 11-piece orchestra conducted by Judy Rauch and you have all the ingredients for a successful start to the Weathervane season.

Photo Credit: Jerrod Huffman



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