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

By SUE SUCHYTA  –  April 12, 2014

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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 wsushows.com.

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!

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