Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Based on characters by Damon Runyon
Directed by Dan Kelley
Take odds on missionaries vs. gamblers
The worst that can be said about this Florida production of GUYS and DOLLS is that it is uneven. The best that can be said is that when it runs true, it provides some terrific moments.
Jill Taylor Anthony provides the very best moments in the role of Miss Adelaide, the doll who has been waiting 14 years for her guy, Nathan Detroit (Justin Lore), to finally tie the knot. Her timing is terrific; her voice just right for the songs; her demeanor winsome – altogether a winning combination.
This musical is a classic – considered one of the best ever because of the talents of Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows and based on two charming Damon Runyon stories. It is filled with 20 catchy song-and-dance numbers including these all-time favorites:
A Bushel and a Peck
If I Were a Bell
I’ve Never Been in Love Before
Luck be a Lady Tonight
Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat
Old-timers may well remember the story, but for the youngsters, the plot line consist of two intertwined love stories where the dolls ultimately seek to change their guys and woo them from their gambling ways.
Adelaide wants Detroit to forgo running a floating crap game; Salvation Army Officer Sarah Brown (Colleen Amaya) seeks to “save” Sky Masterson (Adam Bashian). It’s missionaries vs. gamblers with love as the ultimate winner.
Memorable scenes include the crap game itself, featuring disgruntled, gun-toting thug Big Jule from Chicago (Jack Livesey), who has come to “shoot craps” no matter what, and a delicious moment in the Mission where Masterson fulfils his promise to deliver a dozen highly reluctant sinners to be saved.
The names of the characters are as colorful as their garish, pinstriped suits and lively roles; Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Phil Gosselin), Benny Southstreet (John Warren), Angie the Ox (Leonardo Altafini) and Harry the Horse (Geoffrey Mergele).
Is this a great musical? Yes, without a doubt. Is this a great production? No, it is a competent one with some delightful moments that make it worth seeing.
Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, 8036 W. Sample Rd, 954-344-7765, Tickets $38- $42. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm through Dec. 4.