American Music Stage Guys and DollsBy Laura & Mike Clark • May 15th, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the opening night performance of Guys and Dolls performed by the American Music Stage [MP3 4:57 1.4MB].
Laura: Guys and Dolls has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Andrews. Guys and Dolls is the story of some high rollers in New York City. Nathan Detroit is running a floating craps game and is looking for a location to hold his game. Unfortunately, his fiance of fourteen years, Adelaide, is always trying to convince him to go straight. As a result due to the lack of a wedding ring has developed psychosomatic symptoms and throughout the musical has a cold. Nathan bets a friend of his that he can not take a certain doll to Havana, Cuba. The straight laced upright Miss Sarah Brown in charge of the Save A Soul Mission. It’s a musical with a lot of singing and dancing and some very colorful characters.
Mike: Guys and Dolls was an enjoyable show. It was a small audience for opening night. There seemed to be a lot of family and friends of the performers, but the people that were there did have a good time. A lot of them I don’t think had ever seen the show before and were honestly surprised by some of the occurrences during the show. It was nice to kind of see that fresh perspective on it.
We’re introduced to Miss Sarah Brown pretty early on. She was played by Zehra Fazal. I liked her portrayal as very innocent. Although she was innocent she had this slight air of worldliness about her when she was frustrated about not being able to have an impact with her Save a Soul Mission.
Her confidant, Arvide Abernathy, was played by David Berkenbilt. He did a good job supporting her by being a loving grandfather figure to her. I liked the relationship they developed throughout the show.
Sarah Brown met Sky Masterson, played by A.J. Ennis. Sky was a high roller. He was very much happy go lucky. He was very confident in himself that he could take on anything that might get thrown at him. He was also pretty matter of fact that he could get anyone to do anything he wanted. So when he got the bet to try to take Miss Sarah Brown on a trip with him, he was pretty sure he could do it. I liked the song they sang together, “I’ll Know” at the Save a Soul Mission. That just really worked well together. I think they had a small spark between them.
The other couple in the show was Miss Adelaide (played by Jessica Zyontz) and Nathan Detroit (played by Dino Coppa). They both did a pretty good job. Unfortunately I felt that since Nathan and Sky Masterson were good friends they should have been closer in age. It just appeared that Sky Masterson was a lot younger than Nathan was. That was a small disconnect. It didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the show, it just felt a little funny in a couple of their scenes together.
Miss Adelaide had a very nice singing voice. Unfortunately, she was fighting microphone problems through most of the evening. She would be singing and then all of a sudden she wouldn’t be singing and then she would be singing again. There were also a few snaps and crackles during her songs. So that was unfortunate and hopefully, that will be fixed. Nathan was not quite enough of a lovable loser I think. Although he did good with the role, especially when he was fighting with Big Julie (played by Teddy Gron) about the special dice that Big Julie had made.
I thought the dance in a lot of the numbers wasn’t quite as energetic as it could have been. The choreography was coordinated by Michelle Kepic, Caryn May, and Britta Svenson. For example, Sky Masterson had a really good number, “Luck Be a Lady Tonight.” I felt like the dancers behind him were pretty active, but he was just standing there. He wasn’t very wistful, he wasn’t really praying that luck should be a lady. That was a little bit of a disappointment on that one number.
Another place where the dancing could have been more energetic would have been in Havana at the El Cafe Cubano. I felt like that dance number was really short. There was a fight that broke out, but I felt like it really went very quickly. It would have been really nice if it could have been spread out a few more seconds. Maybe even more people on the dance floor at that time.
Over all the show was very enjoyable. There was a very funny bit with the airplane that flew across as a couple of the characters were flying to Cuba. When it flew back it was even more enjoyable because it wasn’t expected how it flew back.
Laura: Guys and Dolls is playing through May 27th. Friday and Saturday at 8 PM. Sunday the 20th at 3 PM, and Sunday the 27th at 2 PM at the Ernst Theatre at the Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Campus in Annandale, Virginia.
Mike: This is an enjoyable show. I think you’ll have a good time if you go see it.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
- Washington Post: ‘Guys and Dolls’ Is a Gamble At American Music Stage
- Nicely-Nicely Johnson: Bob Ashby
- Benny Southstreet, The Drunk: Joe LeBlanc
- Rusty Charlie, MC: Curtis Jones
- Sarah Brown: Zehra Fazal
- Arvide Abernathy, Waiter: David Berkenbilt
- Agatha (The Mission Band): Angie LeBlanc
- Calvina (The Mission Band): Maya Chandler
- Harry the Horse, Joey Biltmore: Steve Rosenthal
- Lt. Brannigan: Michael Sandoval
- Nathan Detroit: Dino Coppa
- Angie the Ox: Mitch Irzinski
- Miss Adelaide: Jessica Zyontz
- Sky Masterson: A.J. Ennis
- General Matilda B. Cartwright: Cathy Nelson
- Big Jule: Teddy Gron
- The Moll: Heather Benjamin
- Mimi (Hot Box Dancer): Sherry Berg
- Ferguson (Hot Box Dancer): Britta Svenson
- Vernon (Hot Box Dancer): Michele Kepick
- Allison (Hot Box Dancer): Caryn May
- Millie (Hot Box Dancer): Elise Arsenault
- Shirley (Hot Box Dancer): Angie LeBlanc
Guys and Dolls Orchestra
- Violin: Anita Su
- Violin: Katie Shanta
- Cello: Katie Maskell
- Reed 1: Jessica Jones
- Reed II: Jeannie Farnsworth
- Reed III: Katrina Ambrose
- Reed IV: Judy Powell
- Reed IV: Allen Rowe
- Reed V: Herb Kreinik
- Trumpet: Randy Wittenberger
- Trumpet: Rick Wittenberger
- Trumpet: Gary Moore
- Horn: Theresa Ashley
- Trombone: Stephen Howard
- Bass: David Burrelli
- Percussion: Paul Cassens
- Producer/Director: Steve West
- Costumer: Liz Gossens
- Music Director: Daniel William Boothe
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1961.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.