You Can Bet On Guys And Dolls At Westchester Broadway TheatrePublished: Monday, April 22, 2013 7:00 am By: Michall Jeffers Source: Woman Around Town
Equity Theater is alive and well in Westchester. Guys And Dolls is the 178th production at this county gathering place; enthusiasm is high, and ticket sales are brisk.
Guys And Dolls is, of course, a staple of American musical theater. The intertwined stories of the dashing Sky Masterson (Gary Lynch), who has to woo the Salvation Army evangelist Sarah Brown (Courtney Glass), and the most reluctant gambler fiancé, Nathan Detroit (Michael Brian Dunn), who loves but can’t commit to the ever-optimistic showgirl, Adelaide (Allie Schauer), has long captivated audiences.
The show originally opened on November 24, 1950, and ran for 1,200 performances. Based on the Damon Runyon short story “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown,” that production won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It’s interesting to note that it was also selected to win the 1951 Pulitzer Prize, but because of writer Abe Burrows problems with the House Un-American Activities Committee, the award was vetoed. In 1955, MGM produced the movie version, to mixed reviews.
The play has had several incarnations, most recently on Broadway in 2009. Prohibition Era New York is depicted as a fast-moving, colorful place, filled with memorable characters. The gamblers are intent on finding a crap game, the Salvation Army is dedicated to saving the soul of sinners, and the Hotbox girls just want everyone to have a good time at their cabaret. Adelaide has been engaged to Nathan for 14 years; she’s developed an ongoing psychosomatic ailment. She also confesses to have created a fictional marriage and five kids to satisfy her mom, who lives back home in Rhode Island. Nathan needs to raise $1,000 fast, so that his gambling customers won’t be disappointed. Nathan bets Sky that taking the virtuous Sarah to Havana would be an impossibility. While Sky and Sarah are in Cuba, they discover an undeniable attraction to each other, and fueled with alcohol, Sarah finds herself head-over-heels for Sky. Complications arise until the inevitable happy ending.
This production, as directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford, has some lovely moments. I especially enjoyed the sweetness and warmth Allie Schauer brings to Adelaide. She doesn’t fall into the trap of treating her character like just another dumb chorus girl; this is a big-hearted woman who’s strong enough to bounce back from constant disappointment, and who, against all odds, actually does get her man in the end. She’s the leader of a charming group of giggly Hot Box cuties, and their numbers are fun to watch. The redheaded chorus doll brings an extra sparkle to the bouncy routines. Leading lady Courtney Glass possesses a powerful, almost operatic voice, which she uses to great advantage as Sarah. She’s Charlize Theron pretty, and when she lets go and professes her affection in “If I Were A Bell,” she melts hearts. Gary Lynch brings a classic profile and Gene Kelly swagger as Sky, the object of