From the Press
Spring Lake presents ‘Guys and Dolls’
By Karen Meister
There are a myriad of superlatives that can be used to describe the Spring Lake Theatre’s [SLCT] recent production of Guys and Dolls, but the first three that come to mind are sensational, amazing and thoroughly entertaining. This performance deserves a very large wow, which was evident from the audience’s reactions. We could not laugh or clap enough to the antics on stage.
The theatre was pulsating with energy during this Tony Award winning play that was first performed on Broadway in 1950 and has continued to delight theatre patrons for over six decades. Could it be the fabulous music and lyrics, the unique characters, the choreography or the setting and plot or a combination of the many components that make this production one of the 20th century’s classic musical favorites.
When one enters the SLCT, a transformation occurs — taking the viewer to the vivid lights on Broadway. This is where most of the action takes place, and is there ever action!
This Damon Runyon short story adaptation is chock full of vignettes that add to the total story line of gangsters, gamblers, and romance from the 1920s-30s.
The main theme of the play is to win a $ 1,000 bet in order to secure a place for the “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York” Organizer, Nathan Detroit bets his fellow gambler, Sky Masterson that Sky cannot allure a certain “doll” in order to pay for the illegal game at the Biltmore garage.
Masterson takes on the challenge confidently and woos the sweet Salvation Army crusader, Sarah Brown, who starts out wanting only a clean, respectable man, but falls head over heels for the savvy Masterson.
Meanwhile, Nathan Detroit tries to solve another challenge, which involves his fiancée of 14 years, Miss Adelaide, who is a performer at the Hot Box Revue.
She is starting to get the idea that Nathan is stringing her along and wants him to settle down and marry her.
The characters are so intriguing, as well as loveable. Nathan Detroit is portrayed by Gregg Schweers and Adelaide is played by Loretta Boyle. They both make the characters come alive with their fine acting and singing. Boyle can really belt out some of those familiar tunes, such as Bushel and a Peck and Take Back Your Mink.
Mike Foy takes on the role of the savvy Sky Masterson and it’s no wonder that Sara Brown, aka Natalie Auch falls for him. Their chemistry is evident from the first time they meet at the mission store front. Ian Kearns plays Nicely-Nicely Johnson and his performance is so dynamic and entertaining, along with a whole slew of colorful gangsters, such as Harry the Horse, Big Jule, Benny Southstreet, and Rusty Charlie, to name a few. The dialogue is full of such outlandish, sassy humor that makes each character loveable, if not believable!
Of course, there are several other ingredients essential to a great performance and here we have great music, directed by Jeff Brown and the orchestra and fantastic lyrics, with songs like Guys and Dolls, I’ve Never Been in Love Before, Luck Be a Lady and Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.
Choreographer Kerry Baglivio has done a great job putting the routines together, along with the experienced advice of producer, Patricia Barry and Director, Tim Walling.
Set designer, Andrew D’Agostino and costumes by Theresa Condoluci add such flavor and authenticity to the style of the times and the whimsical nature of the characters.
The energy emanating from the stage puts the audience in a relaxed, enjoyable mood, ready for whatever comes next.
I recommend this production as a “must see” for theatre goers and those wanting an entertaining evening out.
The play will be at the Spring Lake Theatre on April 19 and 26 with an 8 p.m. curtain time. Performances will be held at 2 and 8 p.m. on April 20 and 27.
The theatre is located at Third and Madison avenues, Spring Lake.
Tickets may be purchased at the box office by calling 732-449-4530 or online at springlaketheatre.com.