The Examiner: ‘Guys and Dolls’ at the Bonstelle Theatre is a sure bet

Guys and Dolls” may well be the perfect American musical. Where other shows are happy to have one hit song or memorable tune, this classic is packed with them – “Luck Be A Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “If I Were a Bell,” “Sue Me,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and of course, the title song. The lyrics are clever and keenly crafted to suit the post WWII smalltime underworld characters who people this play – polite wise guys who would never swear in front of a nice broad.

The Bonstelle Theatre production of “Guys and Dolls” opened this weekend and runs through April 19, 2014, and it’s a sure bet for a swell night on the town.

Based on a mash-up of Damon Runyon stories, “Guys and Dolls” features music and lyrics by Frank Loesser with a wonderful book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. The play originally opened on Broadway in 1950, where it won five Tony Awards and ran for three years. It has enjoyed a steady stream of revivals on Broadway and around the world and was made into a Hollywood spectacular starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine in 1955.


“Guys and Dolls” is a big show, with a big cast, a big score and a few big production numbers. It has lots of exuberant dancing, multiple scene changes, tricky regional and cultural accents, and all the dramatic demands that make it expensive for small professional theatres to produce. So, you can thank the theatre gods that these features also make “Guys and Dolls” a perfect vehicle for showcasing the talents of the WSU Department of Theatre and Dance. Director Michael J. Barnes makes sure everyone in his young company has a chance to prove what they’re capable of – and the results are most impressive. Additionally, this show affords a perfect swan song for the Bonstelle Theatre Company’s 2014 graduating class.

Seniors with featured roles include a team that has worked well together in the past, most notably in last season’s “Bat Boy.” Jackson McLaskey, Kelly Robinson, Nick Yocum, Matthew Miazgowicz, Colin Mallory, and Anthony Scamihorn return to the roots of musical comedy and make it seem effortless.

Nick Yocum is delightful as Nathan Detroit, the guy behind New York’s oldest established “floating” crap game. Nathan has promised his fiancée of 14-years that he has quit running the crap game, but he’s desperate to raise a bank roll with one more big enterprise. His fiancée is the long suffering Miss Adelaide, featured dancer at the Hot Box night club, played with cheery energy and authentic showgirl wowza by Keira Schmitt. She has many fine performances in “the club,” but the duet “Sue Me” with Yocum is a favorite.

In a ploy to score the $1,000, Nathan bets high-roller Sky Masterson that he can’t get a certain “doll” to go to dinner with him in Havana, Cuba. Sky takes the bet, and then discovers that the “doll” is Sarah Brown, who runs the Salvation Army mission on the corner.

Sky Masterson is played by Jackson McLaskey with a suave, tough-guy confidence that leaves plenty of room to let the show’s comic moments and light romance shine through. Although he pursues Sarah Brown (Kelly Robinson) to win a bet, he finds that he’s truly fallen in love – something that he knows is “no good” for a professional gambler. Kelly Robinson has a thrilling voice, and her scenes with McLaskey – especially “Havana” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” – are marvelous. A certain amount of heartache and dumb luck are inevitable, but love eventually beats the odds in this splendid musical.

This dazzling cast also includes: Bailey Allshouse (West Bloomfield, MI) Waiter, Krista Borthwick (Warren, MI) Agatha, Paul Clauson (Sterling Hights, MI) Brannigan, Garett Harris (Royal Oak, MI) Benny, Logan Hart (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI) Angie-the-Ox, Colin Mallory (Lansing, MI) Rusty, Matthew Miazgowicz (Dearborn, MI) Nicely-Nicely, Luke Rose (Harrison Twp., MI) Big Jule, Anthony Scamihorn (Marshal, MI) Harry, Anna Seibert (Detroit, MI) Aileen, Austin Sullivan (Dexter, MI) Louie, Kendall Talbot (Sterling Heights, MI) General, Graham Todd (Shelby Township, MI) M.C., Hot Box Girls: Lydia Di Iorio (Farmington Hills, MI), Maria Iduante (Westland, MI), Ashley Kalchik (Commerce Township, MI), Maria LoPiccolo (Riverview, MI), Molly McMillan (Saline, MI), Hope Morawa (Lincoln Park, MI), Melodie Myshock (Romulus, MI), Shanice Rollins (Detroit, MI), Danielle Wright (Southfield, MI), Lisa Youngs (Wyandotte, MI). Ensemble: Alexis Barrera (Hartland, MI), Breon Canady (Detroit, MI), Nicole Heikkila (Garden City, MI), Taylor Morrow (Warren, MI), Janelle Soulliere (Clinton Township, MI), Samantha York (Dearborn, MI).

Michael J. Barnes’ creative and production team includes: Meg Paul and Jeff Rebudal (Choreographers), Devon Hansen (Music Director), Veronica Zahn (Stage Manager), Sarah Pearline (Scenic Designer), Tonae Mitsuhashi (Paint Charge), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Christa Tausney (Props Master), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer), Samuel Byers (Lighting Designer), Ryan Koprince (Master Electrician), Amy Schneider (Sound Designer), Michael Hallberg (Assistant Sound Designer), David Sterritt (Fight Director), Andrew Papa (Dialect Director) and Jordan Donahue (Publicity Manager). The 15-piece orchestra is wonderful – just listening to the overture is a treat.

“Guys and Dolls” is a show worth seeing at every and any opportunity, and this Bonstelle Theatre production is worthy of multiple viewings on its own merits. Tickets are $20-$25 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, visiting the Bonstelle Theatre website, or at the Wayne State University Theatre Box Office, located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock. Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. plus a matinee on Saturday, April 19 at 2 p.m. There is a special production for area schools on Thursday, April 17, at 10 a.m. The historic Bonstelle Theatre is located right on Woodward Avenue, just south of Mack Avenue in Detroit.

“Guys and Dolls” hits all the right notes at WSU’s Bonstelle Theatre

By SUE SUCHYTA  –  April 12, 2014


Are you a fan of musical theater? Do your toes tap during the entr’acte? Do you feel a rush of anticipation when the house lights dim and the curtain rises?

If so, head down to the Bonstelle Theatre at 3424 Woodward in Detroit this weekend and catch a well-performed production of Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls.”

The show runs for two weekends, with remaining performances at 8 p.m. April 12, 18 and 19, with 2 p.m. matinees April 13 and 19. There is also a 10 a.m. April 17 school matinee.

Tickets are $20 and $25, and available by calling 313-577-2960 or at

Directed by Michael J. Barnes, the undergraduate Wayne State theater company packs energy and a nostalgic fifties flavor into a fast-paced show filled with favorite show tunes, excellent song and dance numbers, and a talented cast that maintains an energetic pace.

Set in 1950s New York City, “Guys and Dolls” is a classic American musical comedy with song favorites like, “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Luck Be A Lady,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”

Gamblers, nightclub dancing girls and missionaries mix it up and stymie a local police officer trying to close down the “oldest established” floating crap game in town. Romance is also in the air, as gamblers meet their match with a missionary miss and a determined nightclub doll.

Talent abounds in the cast, from the leads to the ensemble dancers.

Nick Yocum of Royal Oak as gambler Nathan Detroit and nightclub performer Keira Schmitt of Livonia as Adelaide are fun to follow as Nathan tries to extend the 14-year engagement Adelaide is determined to bring to the altar.

Jackson McLaskey of Mount Clemens as Sky Masterson is a delightful mixture of con artist and determined suitor as he pursues straitlaced missionary Sarah Brown, played by Kelly Robinson of Royal Oak, first to win a bet, and then to deliberately lose it as he puts it all on the line to win her heart.

Matthew Miazgowicz of Dearborn is wonderfully endearing as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, one of Nathan Detroit’s sidekicks, whose horse bet boasting starts the singing off strong with Benny, played by Garett Harris of Royal Oak and Rusty, played by Colin Mallory of Lansing in “Fugue for Tinhorns” as the show opens. He also delivers a strong performance in “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”

Choreographers Meg Paul and Jeff Rebudal make magic with the gamblers and the Hot Box girls, having fun and bringing out the best in both the dancers and the theater majors, making the meld smooth and seamless and giving the audience some great numbers to enjoy.  The “Havana” number is a fast-paced favorite, as is the sewer scene “Luck Be a Lady” and the Hot Box girls in the saucy “Take Back Your Mink.”

The set and costumes are as colorful and as vibrant as the cast.  In addition to the wonderful wardrobe of the leads, it is fun seeing the fifties fashion parade that the ensemble sports.

The show closes next Saturday night, so if “Guys and Dolls” is on your hit list, dust off your dice and ante up for a ticket to the “oldest established” crap game on Woodward – you can’t lose!

Guys and Dolls – The Rules of Street Craps

Guys and Dolls rehearsal

Guys and Dolls rehearsal


According to the website

By: Sidney Johns

Break Studios Contributing Writer

The phrase “street craps rules” is almost an oxymoron. The game is played in back alleys, back rooms and schoolyards around the world. Dating back to the early 1900s, the dice-throwing game is an illegal form of gambling. During the hardest times in United States history, the 1930s, the game flourished along the streets of large cities, including Chicago and New York. The poorest people placed their bets in the hope of making a few dollars more for the week. Mainly, they just lost their grim earnings and went hungry for the week, but a few made a living running and playing the game. Street craps remains illegal in modern times. Those who organize the games can actually be charged with racketeering. Before taking up a friendly game in your home, be sure the shades are drawn and the lights are low. Only invite those you know for sure are not stool pigeons or snitches.

  1. Dice. Street craps rules call for two regular game dice be used. Some sneaky organizers use loaded or trick dice to assure the bet placers lose.
  2. Betting. All bets must be placed when the dice are in the hand of the shooter. Street craps rules are mostly enforced when it comes to betting as it is the key to money changing hands.
  3. Pass. In street craps rules, a bet is placed as a “pass” when the shooter believes the sum total of the dice will be seven or eleven. If the dice hit these numbers, the bettor wins.
  4. Don’t pass. Street craps rules include a “don’t pass” betting option just like in a casino. This is when the bet placer thinks a two, three or twelve will be the total of the dice.
  5. Points. In street craps, if the sum of the two dice is four, five, six, eight, nine or ten, it makes a point. These points act as carry over bets for the next round.
  6. Shooter. There is only one shooter at any given time. In street craps, the shooter is the person throwing the dice. The shooter can bet or pass.
  7. Fingers. According to the rules of street craps, all fingers must be kept clear of the shooting area. This goes for feet and other body parts as well.
  8. Player additions. There is no limit on the number of players in street craps. Players may be added between any throw that does not include previous points.
  9. Bounce. Street craps rules require that the dice bounce off a wall or other back stop. If the dice do not bounce, the throw is no good and must be redone.
  10. Run. Possibly the most important street craps rule is to run if the police show up. Illegal gambling is not smiled on by local authorities.

Guys and Dolls runs April 11 – April 19, 2014 at the Bonstelle Theatre.  Purchase tickets today!

WSU’s Bonstelle Theatre Gets Back to its Roots with Guys & Dolls!

Photo from Guys & Dolls, 1986-87 Bonstelle Theatre Season

Photo from Guys & Dolls, 1986-87 Bonstelle Theatre Season

DETROIT— On Friday April 11, Theatre and Dance at Wayne rolls back the clock to the era when the Bonstelle Theatre became a part of Wayne State University, with the production of the 1950 classic, Guys & Dolls. Based on Damon Runyon’s story and characters, the Tony Award-winning musical comedy features one of the greatest musical scores in the history of American theatre, and is considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy. Tickets are $20-$25 and are available by calling (313) 577-2960, visiting, or at the Wayne State University Theatre Box Office located at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

Guys and Dolls centers on the romantic misadventures of four iconic Broadway characters: Sarah Brown, the upright but uptight “mission doll,” out to reform the evildoers of Time Square; Sky Masterson, the slick, high-rolling gambler with a heart; Miss Adelaide, the chronically-ill nightclub performer whose condition may be attributed to the fact she has been engaged to the same man for 14 years; and Nathan Detroit, her devoted fiancé, anxious, as always, to find a spot for his infamous floating crap game.

Desperate to find money to pay for his game, Nathan bets Sky a thousand dollars that Sky will not be able to take a local Salvation Army girl, Sarah, to Cuba. While Sky courts Sarah, Nathan battles with his fiancée, Adelaide, all the while trying to put together his illegal crap game under the watchful eye of Lt. Brannigan.Will Nathan Detroit ever marry his fiancée, Adelaide, after fourteen years? Will Nathan evade the authorities to find a place for his long standing floating crap game?  Can the noted gambler and rogue Sky Masterson overcome the stolid defenses of the beautiful Salvation Army crusader, Sister Sarah Brown?

When Guys & Dolls opened on Broadway, it became one of the great successes of Broadway history, running for 1,200 performances and winning five Tony Awards including Best Musical.  It has received three Broadway revivals, two major mountings in London, and has been adapted into the classic big-budget 1955 film starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine.

Guys and Dolls opened on Broadway in 1950 and ran through 1953. During this time, the Bonstelle Theatre merged with Wayne State University, and premiered its first season (1951-1952). Theatre and Dance at Wayne is excited to get back to its roots, and celebrate the 50’s with this golden-age musical!


The cast includes (in alphabetical order):

Bailey Allshouse (West Bloomfield, MI) Waiter, Krista Borthwick (Warren, MI)  Agatha, Paul Clauson (Sterling Hights, MI) Brannigan, Garett Harris (Royal Oak, MI) Benny, Logan Hart (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI) Angie-the-Ox, Colin Mallory (Lansing, MI) Rusty, Jackson McLaskey (Mt. Clemens, MI) Sky, Matthew Miazgowicz (Dearborn, MI) Nicley, Kelly Robinson (Royal Oak, MI) Sarah, Luke Rose (Harrison Twp., MI) Big Jule, Anthony Scamihorn (Marshal, MI) Harry, Keira Schmitt (Livonia, MI) Adelaide, Anna Seibert (Detroit, MI) Aileen, Austin Sullivan (Dexter, MI) Louie, Kendall Talbot (Sterling Heights, MI) General, Graham Todd (Shelby Township, MI) M.C., Nick Yocum (Royal Oak, MI) Nathan

Hot Box Girls: Lydia Di Iorio (Farmington Hills, MI), Maria Iduante (Westland, MI), Ashley Kalchik  (Commerce Township, MI), Maria LoPiccolo  (Riverview, MI), Molly McMillan (Saline, MI), Hope Morawa (Lincoln Park, MI), Melodie Myshock (Romulus, MI), Shanice Rollins (Detroit, MI), Danielle Wright (Southfield, MI), Lisa Youngs (Wyandotte, MI).

Ensemble: Alexis Barrera (Hartland, MI), Breon Canady (Detroit, MI), Nicole Heikkila (Garden City, MI), Taylor Morrow (Warren, MI), Janelle Soulliere (Clinton Township, MI), Samantha York (Dearborn, MI)


The production team includes:

Michael J. Barnes (Director), Meg Paul and Jeff Rebudal (Choreographers), Devon Hasen (Music Director), Veronica Zahn (Stage Manager), Sarah Pearline (Scenic Designer), Brain Dambacher (Technical Director), Christa Tausney (Props Master), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer), Samuel Byers (Lighting Designer), Tyler Ezell (Master Electrician), Amy Shneider (Sound Designer), Michael Hallberg (Assistant Sound Designer), and Jordan Donahue (Publicity Manager).


About the Bonstelle Theatre

The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style House with a 1,143-seat auditorium featuring a balcony, owned by Wayne State University. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of such successful alumni as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC’s Law and Order, Lackawanna Blues), Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, ABC’s Desperate Housewives) and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, NBC’s Heroes). For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts and corporate packages, please call the box office at (313) 577-2960 or visit the theatre’s website at

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.


Season sponsored by CBS Outdoor, Between the Lines, and Encore Michigan.


-Calendar Information-

Thursday 10 a.m.        April 17 (School show, contact 313-577-3010 for more information)

Friday 8 p.m.               April 11, April 18

Saturday 2p.m.            April 19

Saturday 8 p.m.           April 12, April 19

Review: Hilberry’s actors turn playwright in WSU’s Heck-Rabi Festival

2014 Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Festival

March 1, 2014

Every year Wayne State University gives us a chance to experience the theatre equivalent of speed dating. It’s the 2014 Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Writing Festival – a presentation of one-act plays chosen as part of a competition that’s designed to give emerging playwrights an opportunity to have their work produced.

The Heck-Rabi Festival opened Thursday night and runs through March 8 at the Studio Theatre, which is situated directly underneath the Hilberry Theatre and accessed via stairs on either side of the Cass Street awning.

The Festival showcase is a collaboration between the Department of Theatre and Dance and the English Department at Wayne State University. Winning plays are chosen after several finalists are presented as staged readings in the fall. Winning playwrights receive a scholarship and a chance to work with undergraduate directors, designers, and actors to realize their plays onstage at the Studio Theatre.

This year’s festival features new works from four promising playwrights, presented in rotating repertory, with three short plays at each evening’s performance. It’s worth noting that the winning playwrights are all accomplished actors – third-year MFA students in the Hilberry Company who will continue delighting audiences with their performances in “Moon Over Buffalo” and “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” in March.

We were lucky enough to catch three of the four plays on Friday night, and enjoyed how the modular scenic design, a stylized assemblage of crates and apple boxes, was restacked and propped out to accommodate each play. The shows we saw explored entirely different themes, with distinct and memorable characters, but each managed to squeeze a fully story arc into a tiny slice of the time-space continuum.

“The Crate,” by David Sterritt (Atlanta, GA)

Directed by Katelyn Foster (Harrison Township)
The lights come up as two hapless buddies, shipping warehouse employees, open a suspicious crate in hopes of sorting out its missing delivery instructions. But once they see what’s inside – like Pandora – they find it’s too for damage control. Does their boss know what’s going on? Is their boss part of an illicit operation? And where does that leave our friends. When a female colleague shows up unexpectedly, they don’t know if she’s a friend or a foe… or both. This is a black licorice play – it’s fun, but it has a dark twist.

Featuring Carl Bentley (Flat Rock); Michael Fisher (Garden City); Egla Kishta (Clinton Township); Chris Peterson (Royal Oak). Stage Manager: Nicholas Boyd (Redford).

You can catch this one in rotation Saturday, March 1; Thursday, March 6; Friday, March 7 or Saturday, March 8, 2013.

“Jazz Duet in a Minor Key,” by Topher Payne (Lubbock, TX)
Directed by Lisa Youngs (Wyandotte)
Charles, seeking direction in his plateaued life, drives across the country in hopes of reconnecting with a former high school best friend – a friend who spurned Charles when he came out as gay before their graduation. When Charles shows up at the friend’s childhood home, he meets Karyn, herself suffering from identity issues. As each makes an effort to offer the other a measure of healing, they discover a common thread in their suffering, and exchange and renew the lost confidence they enjoyed as kids.

Featuring Doug Lubaway (Wyandotte); Katelin Maylum (Byron). Stage Manager: Cassandra Maniak (Southgate).

This play will be performed on Saturday, March 1; Thursday, March 6; Friday, March 7 and Saturday March 8, 2013.

“For the Kids,” by Brent Griffith (Port Orchard, WA)
Directed by Kelly Robinson (Royal Oak)
Cam and Will are best friends, roommates, and co-workers in a troupe that teaches elementary school children about the importance of friendship. As Cam grows closer to a woman he met on a gig and Will is increasing left alone, both friends find their resentments leaking into their on-stage moralizing – with incendiary and hilarious results. Can Cam and Will learn a valuable lesson from their onstage personas – or do they simply prove that sometimes it’s hard to be a friend?

Featuring Adham Aljahmi (Dearborn); Amelia Gilis; Caitlin Macuga (Westland); Allen Wiseman (Roseville). Stage Manager: Michael Hallberg (Fraser).

You can catch this comedy on Thursday, March 6; Friday, March 7; or Saturday March 8, 2013.

The fourth play in the festival rotation is:

“Genius, or Crazy?,” by Megan Barbour (Rochester, NY)
Directed by Shannon Hurst (Warren)
An art student seeks creative advice from the greats when she hits a mental block. Makes perfect sense to this writer!

Featuring Alexis Barrera (Hartland); Carl Bentley (Flat Rock); Dan Finn (Armada); Michael Fisher (Garden City); Joe Sfair (Eastpointe); Allen Wiseman (Roseville). Stage Manager: Maggie Beson (Riverview).

Remaining shows are Saturday, March 1 and Friday, March 7, 2013.

The production team for all four of four shows includes Scenic Designer Christa Tausney (Garden City), Costume Designer Jared Morin (Warren), Lighting Designers John Schmidt (Farmington Hills) and Peter Lawrence (Brownstown), Sound Designer Michael Hallberg (Fraser), Assistant Sound Designer Aaron Beckius (Grosse Pointe), and Properties Designer Jon Piggot (Wyandotte).

For tickets, call 313-577-2972, visit WSU’s online show calendar or visit the box office located at the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Avenue, Detroit, at the corner of Cass and Hancock.

Meet the Cast – For the Kids


(Left to right) Allen Wiseman and Adham Aljahmi in rehearsal

Adham Aljahmi (Will) is a senior BA political science and theatre major. Previous WSU credits include Othello at the Hilberry Theatre.

Allen Wiseman (Cameron) is a first-year student at WSU. Previous WSU credits include American Soldiers.

Amanda Gillis (Liz) is a third-year BA theatre major. Previous credits include Rocky Horror Picture Show, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Back to the 80s.

Caitlyn Macuga (Lindsey) is a second-year BA theatre major. Caitlyn recently held an internship at the Tipping Point Theatre in Northville.


Caitlyn Macuga in rehearsal


(Left to Right) Allen Wiseman, Amanda Gillis, and Caitlyn Macuga in rehearsal

Meet the Cast – The Crate


Left to right – Egla Kishta, Carl Bentley, Chris Peterson

Carl Bentley is a third-year BFA acting major. WSU credits include ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Our Town, Time Stands Still, and Othello.

Michael Fisher is a senior BA theatre major. Previous WSU credits include Macbeth at the Hilberry Theatre and Broken Glass and Time Stands Still at the Studio Theatre. Michael also performed in The Seagull at Henry Ford Community College.

Left to right - Michael Fisher, Chris Peterson

Left to right – Michael Fisher, Chris Peterson

Egla Kishta is a fourth-year sociology student from Clinton Township. This is her first production at Wayne State University. Pervious credits include Western Michigan University’s studio production of SubUrbia.

Chris Peterson is a third-year BA theatre major. Previous credits include Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, and Macbeth.