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Guys and Dolls Musical Review – A 65 Year-Old Classic

By Jennifer Lunz

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Many plays, musicals, and operas have been performed for decades, and even centuries, all for exactly the same reason: They are timeless; stories and music that touch the heart and reveal dreams, as well as simply being entertaining. One of these classics is the Tony award-winning musical Guys and Dolls, which premiered on Broadway in 1950, ran for 1200 performances on Broadway, and has had several award-winning revivals over the years.

 

Cary Lovett (Nicely Nicely Johnson) and company in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3, 2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

 

Guys and Dolls tells the story of gamblers and the women who cannot stop loving them. The musical comedy focuses on love and high stakes, and offers quite an extensive list of much-beloved songs such as Fugue for Tinhorns, I’ll Know, Bushel and a Peck, Adelaide’s Lament, Guys and Dolls, If I Were a Bell, I’ve Never Been in Love Before, Luck Be a Lady, and my all time favorite, Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.

 

Light Opera Works in Evanston, Illinois is currently running a new version of the musical, directed by Rody Hogenmiller, at Cahn Auditorium at 600 Emerson. Light Opera Works, now in its 35th year, is a resident professional not-for-profit theater. Its mission is to produce and present musical theater from a variety of world traditions, as well as allowing audience members to experience repertoire that is often unavailable on stages of commercial theater and opera houses. These include modern productions with professional artists and full orchestra.

 

Seeing Guys and Dolls on Saturday, December 26th, I found the production fresh and original. The marvelous, talented cast helped the musical come to life, along with impressive costume and stage/set design. The story focuses on handsome, high-rolling gambler, Sky Masterson (Justin Adair), who woos Sarah Brown (Elizabeth Telford) on a bet to Havana, Cuba, a missionary who sets out to reform the sinners of New York City. He ends up falling for her instead. There is also Nathan Detroit (Steve Silver), a man who is always searching for the next big floating crap game, his 14 years and counting, as well as chronically ill nightclub performer, Miss Adelaide (Sarah Larson). Other characters include Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Cary Lovett) and Rusty Charlie (John Cardone), chronic gamblers, and Arvide Abernathy, Sarah Brown’s kindly grandfather, who works with her in the missionary.

 

Elizabeth Telford (Sarah Brown) and Justin Adair (Sky Masterson) in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3, 2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

 

Steve Silver (Nathan Detroit) and Justin Adair (Sky Masterson) in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3, 2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

The performers were what really made this production of Guys and Dolls. I thought everyone was perfectly cast.  Among my favorites were Elizabeth Telford (debut) as Sarah Brown, a delightful and spunky soprano who played the role with an almost assertive innocence, and Sarah Larson as Adelaide (which was a perfect comedic and sweet performance overall). Cary Lovett and John Cordone as Nathan Detroit’s fellow gamblers also played very talented, supporting roles with some astounding performances during the opening Fugue for Tinhorns, Guys and Dolls, and Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat. Also, I need to give full praise for the supporting ensemble: What a wonderful group of singers, actors, and dancers! Without them, there would have been no Guys and Dolls.

 

Steve Silver (Nathan Detroit) and Sarah Larson (Miss Adelaide) in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3, 2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

Elizabeth Telford (Sarah Brown) and company in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3, 2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

Guys and Dolls is such a wonderful musical with such classic songs that once you hear them, they never leave and you will frequently find yourself humming or singing them aloud. Then, there is the stage and set design. A memorable musical needs a great set and stage design. Light Opera Works pulled this off remarkably with 1950s era New York City busy streets, the underground, and The Hot Box nightclub where Adelaide performs.  Simple, yet effective backgrounds helped set the time, place, and era. The costumes were also impressive. I especially enjoyed the mens’ loud and ostentatious striped and checkered pants and suit jackets, as well as the womens’ nightclub outfits.

 

Company in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3 ,2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

 

Sarah Larson (Miss Adelaide) and company in Light Opera Works’ GUYS AND DOLLS December 26-January 3, 2016- at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, IL.

 

Guys and Dolls was a delightful evening of wonderful, classic music, acting, singing, and dancing - an overall classic musical to experience, one that just keeps getting better and better over the decades. I am sure that it will continue to charm audiences for years to come.

 

 

Photos: Mona Luan

 

 

Ticket prices range from $34 to $96. Ages 21 and younger are half price.

 

To order tickets, or for more information, visit the Light Opera Works box office at 516 4th Street in Wilmette, call (847) 920-5360, or order 24 hours a day online at their website.

 

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Published on Dec 30, 2015

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