Guys and Dolls a showstopper

Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Culture

Guys and Dolls a showstopper

Crapshooters' Dance, from "Guys and Dolls", photo by Roger Duncan.

Guys and Dolls. The Almost Perfect musical comedy. It's playing right now at Maine State Music Theatre, and you have got to go.

Everything about this production was fabulous -- from the three tinhorns who could not only enter their fugue state in the opening number, but tap dance and play the trombone in "Guys and Dolls" -- to the two improbable love stories between a hard-time gambler and a puritanical missionary, and a showgirl and a non-gambling manager of the Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in New York -- the band in the pit that never missed a note -- and the dance.

The fabulous dance, from the Havana night club to the streets and sewers of Runyonland, choreographed by DJ Salisbury, who also directed the production.

If you love dance as much as I do, the dance alone is worth twice the price of admission.Hats are also off to dance captain Matty Rickard, because in the tight little space that is the Maine State Music Theatre Main Stage, a lot of the dance numbers seemed nigh on impossible, and yet they did it without falling off the stage, accidentally kicking another dancer in the face, or missing a single beat.

The synopsis is deceptively simple -- Nathan Detroit (James Beaman) is looking for a space to have his crap game, while the heat is on from the cops in the person of Lt. Brannigan (Joe Gately). He and his trio of henchmen, Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Steve Gagliastro), Benny Southstreet (Brad Bradley), and Rusty Charlie (Raymond Marc Dumont). Trouble is, no one will give him space because the cops are leaning on them, so he finds a space in a hotel garage, but the manager wants $1,000 in advance.

Sky Masterson (Stephen Mark Lukas), a high roller, is in town, and Nathan concocts a bet that he will not be able to take the puritanical missionary miss, Sarah Brown (Kristen Hahn) out for dinner. Masterson goes to the mission and pretends to be a reforming sinner, but Sarah sees through him immediately. Things aren't going well for the mission, though, and Sky promises to deliver a dozen sinners to her door if she'll go out to dinner with him. In Cuba. Their unlikely relationship progresses over a couple of dolce leches and under Havana moonlight.

In the meantime, Nathan has "doll" trouble of his own with showgirl Miss Adelaide (Charis Leos), who is pushing for marriage after a 14-year engagement, and she finally talks him into eloping and getting married in Maryland where they don't need a blood test or a license. His friends lament the fact that "dolls" are responsible for guys' changing their ways.

But the arrival of perennial craps loser Big Jule (Danny Rutigliano) from Chicago sends Nathan searching desperately for a space to hold the craps game, and finds it, in the mission, while Sky and Sarah are in Cuba.

Learning that the whole gambit was a ruse to give the guys a place to gamble, she walks away from Sky, leaving both of them broken-hearted.

Adelaide, too, is broken-hearted when Nathan doesn't turn up for their elopement.

Sky Masterson gambles one last time -- for the souls of his gambling friends and for Sarah's heart -- in the sewers of New York, singing "Luck be a Lady", and wins, shepherding them to the Save-a-Soul mission.

Nicely-Nicely sees the light, and souls are, in fact, saved that night. Sky joins the mission; Adelaide and Nathan are married by Sarah's grandfather, Arvide Abernathy, and Nathan turns in his dice for a newspaper stall and an honest living.

But despite the silly premise, all the elements of Perfect Musical Comedy are in Guys and Dolls, and that makes it a perennial favorite. Go see it; it is playing until July 15, and tickets are available at msmt.org.

 

 

 

 

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