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Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three

This sublime production runs through October 23!

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three
Steven Uilein as Nathan Detroit and Kevin Shaw as Sky Masterson

The glitz of 1920s-era Times Square is alive in Port Jefferson this fall with Theatre Three's effervescent production of the Golden Age musical classic "Guys and Dolls." A combination of masterful stagecraft, zippy choreography, and a top-notch ensemble of performers secures the production as must-see theatre this fall on Long Island.

Director Jeffrey Sanzel has assembled some of the region's top tier on-stage and technical talent - bringing this beloved piece of Broadway history to life on a grand scale. Oddly enough, I have never seen the show live on stage despite its popularity amongst high schools and community theaters. However, I felt fortunate to have had Theatre Three's production serve as my introduction to what remains a timeless story that set the blueprints of many future romantic comedies - both on stage and film.

It's a tale as old as time. A group of rapscallions are up to know good and their mischief ignites a bet. In this case, the lovable - albeit manipulative - gambler and con-man Nathan Detroit bets the charming and self-assured high stakes gambler Sky Masterson that he cannot take a Missionary darling - our romantic ingenue Sarah Brown - on a date to Havana. Why? It's his last chance to secure a location for a craps game for the night. While the premise of betting on the success of swaying a woman has proven to turn nefarious in other works, "Guys and Dolls" never succumbs to cruelty towards its leading ladies and instead poses them as the dominant figures in the lives of the featherbrained "guys."

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three
From Left: Aaron Mor as Benny Southstreet, Angelo DiBiase as Lt. Brannigan, Finn MacDevitt as Nicely-Nicely Johnson

The cast is visibly having a blast on stage and the energy is contagious. Each lavish and kinetic production number is a feast for the eyes with gorgeous costumes by Jason Allyn and Ronald Green III and electric choreography by Ryan Nolin.The Havana sequence in particular was a wonderful display of Nolin's skill - executed wonderfully by ensemble members Rob Ferzola, Cassidy Rose O'Brien, Melissa Norman, and Alex Yagud-Wolek.

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three

Each of the four leads are immensely talented and give their iconic roles a personal touch. Steven Uilein's Nathan Detroit is perfectly loveable as the broke schemer trying to balance his criminal activity with keeping his fiancee of 14 years at bay. Mr. Uilein's knack for physical comedy kept the character's shticks fresh throughout. There was also an undeniable chemistry between him and Sari Feldman as Miss Adelaide. The pair's scene work triggered waves of laughter during the performance - especially the running gag of Adelaide's fabricated homelife she confesses she's been satisfying her mother with for over a decade. Ms. Feldman is a joy to watch and her rendition of "Adelaide's Lament" is a highlight of the show.

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three

Making up the second duo of "Guys and Dolls" is Kevin Shaw and Rachel Greenblatt as Sky and Sarah. Mr. Shaw is positively enigmatic as Masterson with his natural charisma and stage presence paired with a smooth, alluring baritone. In particular, the actor performs "Luck Be a Lady" in Act II with zeal and charm - doing justice to the famous tune. Mrs. Greenblatt also holds her own as the classic soprano ingenue. While the role offers less opportunity for laughs, the actress still delights as she quips with Sky and eventually lets loose in Havana. Her rendition of "If I Were a Bell" gives new life to the song as she uses the breadth of the stage to bring Sarah out of her shell with motivated movement and a powerful mezzo-mix.

There is truly no weak link in this cast. From the gangsters to the Mission members to the Hot Box Girls, every performer on stage makes an impression. Angelo DiBiase is hysterical as the walking caricature of Lt. Brannigan, Michael Butera warms hearts as Sarah's father Arvide, and Linda May is appropriately formidable as General Cartwright. However, the company is particularly at its best during the crowd-pleasing "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" - led by a captivating Finn MacDevitt as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. From the staging to the gospel vocals, this spirited number does not disappoint.

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three
Finn MacDevitt and Company

This sublime production - running through October 23 - features a live orchestra and high-quality technical stagecraft you would expect from a Manhattan venue. "Guys and Dolls" is yet another example of why Theatre Three remains a true institution in Port Jefferson.

Review: GUYS AND DOLLS Hits the Jackpot at Theatre Three



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