A lot has changed in sixty years and it is apparent in Dallas Summer Musicals' current production of Guys and Dolls. One thing that has not changed what it takes to make great Broadway and Guys and Dolls is great Broadway.
This show is a fun look back at what life was like in the Forties in New York. The show originally debuted on Broadway in 1950 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is a fast paced romp centering around the love affair between Nathan Detroit, who's biggest love is the floating crap game he is always stressing to find a location for and his fiance of fourteen years Miss Adelaide. She is the headliner at the Hot Box Cabaret and is not worried if he has the money he makes finding spots for the illegal games, she only wants him, and she wants him out of gambling.
But half the fun here is Detroits' adventures as he tries to locate a spot for his next big game. There are a lot of gangsters that want to participate, but finding a spot is proving elusive. You see the heat is on, Lieutenant Brannigan is hot on Detroit wanting to bust his crap game and all the gangsters who participate. Detroit need $1,000. to secure the only spot he can find, but that is easier said than done.
Enter Sky Masterson a high rolling Nick Arnstein type who likes to bet on outlandish ideas that pop into his head, most of which he wins. Detroit thinks he is going to outsmart Masterson and get the $1,000 for his game, but Detroit is not that bright, and Masterson is that good at winning outlandish wagers.
The shows secondary plot involves Masterson and the object of the bet. Masterson has to convince a missionary with a Salvation Army type group named Sarah Brown to join him for dinner in Havana. Sarah wants to rid the her corner of the world of it's demons, namely Gabling and Booze, so when Detroit bets Masterson he can't take Brown on a date to Havana, he thinks its all but guaranteed he will get the $1000. he needs to secure the spot for his crap game.
Guys and Dolls provides two interesting love stories, and plenty of old fashioned song and dance. Attending this show was like going back to a simpler easier time. The biggest worries they had were people who drank and gambled, wow, I wish I lived in that world today, but for a few hours I got to. That was nice. It is funny to me that we have all these gadgets that make tasks easier and faster than even twenty years ago, yet we never have any time.
This is the best ensemble cast I can remember ever seeing. Ben Crawford who played Shrek on Broadway, plays Sky Masterson, the can't get tied down Arnstein character who you know deep down is a good guy. He plays this slickster with heart. Erin Davie Plays Sarah Brown, a missionary hoping to save the world, or at least a small part of Manhattan from the evils of dice and drink perfectly. Her brief jaunt to Havana, (in the forties we could still go there) was brilliant comedy and choreography. Her first taste of liquor leads to the revelation that Bacardi “would be a great way to get kids to drink milk.” Yes it would.
Steve Rosen and Megan Sikor as Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide are perfection. It is like watching Matthew Broderick and Lucille Ball. I never saw Lucy in person, but a quick look at an old episode of I Love Lucy confirmed, this actress gave us all the brilliance Lucy would have in this role. Watching Rosen, was exhilarating, I was rooting for his character to get it together, but was never quite sure that he would.
Garth Kravits and Glen Rainey as sidekicks Benny Southstreet and Nicely Nicely Johnson, were so fun. Their singing together and with Rosen was magical.
While an amazing Ensemble, and there are no weak links here, which is rare in a show of this magnitude, I have to say that Megan Sikor and Glen Rainey steal this show. They are both so fun to watch and take this amazing show to a place it would have not gone without them. They are my showstoppers for Guys & Dolls. This amazing show, one of the top five shows I have ever seen, goes to a better place when either of these two are onstage.
Guys and Dolls plays Dallas Summer Musicals through July 31st at the Music Hall at Fair Park. I have hear complaints about the sound of productions and I experienced that to in the past, but I promise you that is a thing of the past. Tickets are $20-$85. Also, get tickets now for the State Fair Musical “West Side Story” I have seen a preview and this is going to be brilliance. West Side Story is one of the greatest Broadway Musicals of all time, don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. More infor and tickets at www.dallassummermusicals.org
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