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GUYS AND DOLLS Daemen University/MusicalFare Theatre
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Sep 9, 2023, 15:30
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Through October 8
GUYS AND DOLLS Daemen University/MusicalFare Theatre

By Augustine Warner

Theater is always a gamble, that the public will like the show or the cast or the theme and that a cast member won’t get sick or break a leg or have a drug problem which kicks in or: whatever.
So, why not open the season with a show about gambling?
MusicalFare is opening with the classic “Guys and Dolls.”
That show had people walking out of the theater singing or whistling classics like “I’ll Know,” “Take Back Your Mink” and “Luck Be a Lady.”
This award-winning 1950 musical was among the last when Broadway was the core of American culture, providing routine music on the radio, as TV came to dominate.
“Guys and Dolls” is silly and convoluted and well done in this opening MusicalFare production.
Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows took some of Damon Runyon’s Broadway characters from his short stories and his reporting for William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper rags and assembled “A Musical Tale of Broadway.”
It’s all a little hard to believe, something true for most musicals.
It can’t be any sillier or more unlikely than “Camelot.”
Human weakness is at the heart of the show: gambling and Nathan Detroit’s (John Kaczorowski) sloth in finally going through with his marriage to Miss Adelaide (Maria Pedro), a 14-year engagement.
Nathan is so busy with “The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in New York” that he’s neglecting Adelaide as she dances at the Hot Box café, as customers drool.
The “overt act” of the show is Nathan’s attempt to find a place for his crap game since the NYPD’s Lt. Brannigan (Rolando Martin Gomez) is cracking down on the gambling around Times Square and the usual spots for shooting craps aren’t available and Joey Biltmore wants $1,000 up front for the use of his garage and Nathan has no cash.
At the same time, there is an unusually large crowd with cash looking for a game, like the legendary Sky Masterson (Alex Anthony Garcia) and Chicago’s Big Jule (a wonderful Jimmy Janowski).
Sky is the heart of the show, as he puts the moves on Sarah Brown (Sarah Blewett), the young woman who runs the Save-a-Soul Mission aimed at converting the denizens of Times Square.
He bets on the two becoming connected and heading off to Havana and returning with “My Time of Day” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before.”
They also arrive to find out Nathan has been running his craps game in the mission.
Sarah flees, only to have Arvide Abernathy (Bobby Cooke) sing to follow her heart, “More I Cannot Wish You.”
The second act winds up all the strands of the show and offers an amazing production number on the MusicalFare stage, “The Crapshooter’s Dance” leading into “Luck Be a Lady.”
Sky marries Sarah and becomes the mission’s Brother Obediah and Nathan finally ties the knot with Adelaide and a new crowd mixes with Harry the Horse (Alejandro Gabriel Gomez), Benny Southstreet (Anthony Lazzaro) and Nicely -Nicely Johnson (Davida Evette Tolbert) and Times Square continues its role as a place to misbehave.
Director Chris Kelly offers a large and wonderful cast to use Kristy E. Cavanagh’s choreography.
While it remains silly, this is a great show and a great production, reaching across the Broadway generations and a show which isn’t done enough.
The last local professional production of “Guys and Dolls” I could find was at the Kavinoky, with John Fredo as Nathan in !1999!
That’s why you should head out to Daemen and MusicalFare and listen as the stage echoes to “Fugue for Tinhorns.”

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