GUYS AND DOLLSPublished: Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:00 am By: Marlene S. Gaylinn
“Guys and Dolls,” currently at Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT), is a classic example of what a musical should contain -- interesting subject matter, great characters, wonderful songs and lively dancing. In short, the plot pokes fun at slick, New York City gangsters and their dames, and is based on a short story by Damon Runyon, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, and choreography by Michael Kidd. Directed by George S. Kaufmann, the original show starring Sam Levene, Robert Alda, Isabel Bigley and Vivian Blaine, premiered on Broadway in 1950 and won five Tony Awards. The award-winning film starred Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine.
At Westchester Broadway Theatre, this revival lives up to the show’s sub-title, A Musical Fable of Broadway. Its colorful, cartoon characters, costumes and settings seem as if they were lifted directly from the comic strips. It takes place during a time period when petty gangsters were minor terrorists and kept mostly to themselves.How can a show fail with names like “Nathan Detroit” (Michael Brian Dunn), who’s main job is to seek locations for his gang’s illegal crap games, “Sky Masterson” (Gary Lynch), a cool, high roller who would bet on anything, chubby and loveable “Nicely-Nicely Johnson” (Jayson Elliott), “Big Julie” (Jeff Brooks), the gang’s fearsome rival, and friendly followers of the trade “Benny Southstreet” (Sheldon Henry), “Harry the Horse” (Thomas Roy), and Angie the Ox (Matthew Dailey). Under the direction of Jonathan Stahl and Richard Stafford (WBT’s successful “Fiddler on the Roof”) all the gangsters act, sing, and are equally adept at dancing -- as demonstrated in “The Crapshooter’s Ballet.”
The two main “Dolls” are “Adelaide” (Allie Schauer), the squeaky showgirl who suffers from a persistent allergy (due to being engaged to Nathan for 14 years) and “Sarah” (Courtney Glass), the “Save the Soul” missionary who captures Sky’s affections.
This musical is loaded with popular songs. Sarah and Sky, very tenderly render “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Take Back Your Mink” is highlighted by a cute and vibrant Adelaide. The theme song, “Guys and Dolls,” plus “Sit Down You're Rockin’ The Boat” are enjoyably led by Nicely-Nicely. You may know “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Luck be a Lady Tonight,” “If I Were a Bell,” “My Time of Day” and “Sue Me.”
“Guys and Dolls” is a highly entertaining, full-scale, professional production at WBT – a luxurious, dinner theatre that offers great stage viewing, a varied menu, and easy, free parking.
Plays to June 9 Tickets: 914-592-2222