Top Five Reasons to See The Old Globe’s Guys and Dolls
Article by Kristen Schweizer
You can blame this past weekend’s heat wave on the opening of The Old Globe’s red-hot production of Guys and Dolls. The ubiquitous show began Friday night with steamy burlesque numbers, aerobic choreography, and a breakneck pacing that had the audience on their feet within the first moments of the curtain call.
The Tony Award-winning show is a regular fixture in community and educational theater, but it is The Old Globe’s first-ever production of the Broadway masterpiece. The story begins with Nathan Detroit, a gentleman in need of some serious dough to secure a location for his “old established permanent floating crap game.” While staving off eager gamblers and Adelaide, his marriage-minded finance (of 14 years), Nathan attempts to make the money on a bet with high-roller Sky Masterson. The wager requires self-identified sinner Sky to seduce the Bible-thumping Sarah Brown into joining him on a trip to Havana Cuba. As expected, hysterical comedy and famous musical numbers follow.
Undoubtedly the most delightful summer musical in San Diego today, Guys and Dolls finds unique moments that are sure to delight even the most experienced theater veteran. Having seen countless renditions of this popular show, I am relieved that I didn’t miss this one thanks to five stand-out talents:
#5. Todd Buonopane
Buonopane co-stars as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, the constantly snacking sidekick to Nathan. He takes on the heavy lifting in the title song and brought down the house with the crowd-pleasing ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’. From cross-eyed schtick to pitch-perfect belting above a chorus, you will sit up and pay attention every time he enters the stage. You may recognize him as Jeffrey Weinerslav – the transgender human resources mediator in NBC’s 30 Rock.
#4. Brian C. Hemesath
Guys and Dolls is set in New York City during the Prohibition but the storyline and slapstick wit is more cartoon than a history lesson. The careful balance between the two is reflected aptly through the dizzying display of plaid suits and playful burlesque costumes of Adelaide and her “Hot Box” girls. Costume designer Brian C. Hemesath fills the stage with color and print that stimulates the eye and imagination. It will come as no surprise that the whimsical choices were crafted by the same man who created Justin Timberlake’s look in the infamous “Dick in a Box ”SNL sketch.
#3. Linda Libby
San Diego’s Linda Libby recently dazzled audiences as Madame Rose in Cygnet’s Gypsy. A regular fixture on city stages, Libby makes her Globe debut as Gen. Matilda B. Cartwright. Her incredible voice combined with scene-stealing character acting is sure to grab your gaze. Her timing is excellent, her swagger is inimitable, and her hometown is lucky to have her.
#2. Josh Rhodes
Josh Rhodes astounds with fresh choices as director-choreographer. The rare blend allows a seamless transition of scenes and song to keeps Frank Loesser’s high-spirited candace throughout. He turned the opening ‘Runyonland’ sequence into a full storyline of tropes reminiscent of his last gig at The Old Globe (Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery). Most notably, Rhodes’ ‘Crapshooter’s Dance’ defies gravity and his playful take on ‘Bushel and a Peck’ will have you both giggling and sweating under your collar in a ticklish fusion.
#1. Veronica J. Kuehn
With both the script and lustful vaudeville numbers on her side, Kuehn owns the stage as Miss Adelaide. Her animated voice both satirizes the famous actresses that have come before her in the role and strikes her own sense of timing. She is a true triple threat with a thinking actress’ understanding of comedy.
Whether you’ve performed in the show yourself, caught a high school version, or have never seen Guys and Dolls before, this is a can’t miss ticket. With the technical excellence and high-caliber talent one expects from The Globe, this musical is the must-see of the summer. Make a full night of it and check out Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday before the show!
Based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon
Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes
Presented in association with Asolo Repertory Theatre
RUNS: July 2 – August 13, 2017
Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Old Globe Theatre
TICKETS: Tickets start at $40.