BWW Review: GUYS AND DOLLS is a Winner at Broadway At Music Circus
The classics are my favorite, and Broadway at Music Circus' fresh take on Guys and Dolls is no exception. When it opened on Broadway in 1950, it won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. With three more Broadway revivals, it has cemented itself as a staple of American musicals. It is based on the short stories of Damon Runyon, an American author and reporter who favored tales about the seedier happenings of Broadway.
Indeed, Guys and Dolls is about the sinners-and aren't we all? The miscreant gamblers that we can't help but love-Nathan Detroit, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Benny Southstreet, and the captivating Sky Masterson. The lovable Hot Box dancer, Miss Adelaide. Even the uptight missionary, Sarah Brown, is a saint-turned-sinner (which definitely helps her likability).
Sarah's whole mission in life is to fill her Save-A-Soul Mission with repentant sinners. Nathan Detroit's mission is to sin. Nightly, as he is in charge of a revolving craps game that needs a place to land. In order to secure a spot, he needs to come up with $1,000. Enter Sky Masterson, who has never seen a bet he didn't like. Nathan bets Sky $1,000 that he can't convince a "doll" of Nathan's choosing to go to Cuba with him the following day. Sky, sure of his power over the dolls, takes the bet. Much to Sky's horror, Nathan chooses Sarah. In the meantime, Miss Adelaide is trying to convince Nathan that their 14 years of engagement is long enough and that he needs to give up his craps game. Can these guys and dolls work out their differences and find happiness on Broadway?
Of course, these characters couldn't come to life without the talented team at Broadway at Music Circus. Always-flawless casting brings the four principals to you with vibrant gusto. Ali Ewoldt as Sarah Brown is a believably annoying do-gooder who becomes inherently more tolerable as soon as she ingests some dulce de leches. Her soprano melds well with Edwards Watts' rich voice as he infallibly occupies the role of Sky Masterson. Their duet, "I've Never Been in Love Before," takes everything magical about the classic musicals and delivers it in one perfect romantic punch. Watts was seen last summer in Broadway at Music Circus' Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, where he awed us with his leading man qualities as Adam. Nathan Detroit's sensitive gambler is deftly portrayed by Jeff Skowron, who we all fell in love with just weeks ago as Ali Hakim in Oklahoma! The character that everyone will remember long after the show is done, however, is Miss Adelaide. Lesli Margherita is a raucous, hilarious, perky, hot mess of a delight. "A Bushel and a Peck" is saucy and lively, but takes a backseat to "Adelaide's Lament," a woeful song of psychosomatic runny noses and coughs. In fact, every scene of Adelaide's is captivating, especially "Marry the Man Today," which pairs her with her polar opposite comrade-in-arms, Sarah, as they grieve about the complications of love. Adelaide continues with a new lament, er...plan..., "I always thought how wonderful he would be if he was different." Luckily, they agree on the universal truth that men need to be changed after you marry them, and vow to "marry the man today" to do just that.
All of that is enough, but the show keeps delivering. There is the symbolic and expressive choreography by Michael Lichtefeld to enjoy in the energetic "Crapshooters' Ballet." Cuban dancing brings color and zest to the multitude of scenes in "Havana." "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" brought a new vitality into the house that carried through to the finale. This is a show that will leave you revitalized and waiting for the next one. The Wiz, anyone?
Guys and Dolls plays at Broadway at Music Circus through July 28. Tickets may be purchased at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office at 1419 H Street, Sacramento, or by calling (916) 557-1999. They may also be purchased at www.BroadwaySacramento.com.
Photo credit: Kevin Graft