Ending its brief summer tour in Atlanta, Big Leagues Productions’ Guys and Dolls brings a night of classic Broadway to the Fox Theatre, and it doesn’t disappoint. One of the most well-known American musicals, Guys and Dolls tells the story of two New York City gamblers and the ladies that try to clean up their acts.
From the moment the music starts and the stage-filling Guys and Dolls marquee is illuminated with big, white lights, you know that you’re in for a treat. The marquee is just one of the impressive aspects to Kate Sutton-Johnson’s set design. From the Hot Box nightclub to the sewers of New York City, each scene has been perfectly crafted and staged.
Directed by Gordon Greenberg, the production stars Erin Davie as Sarah, Megan Sikora as Adelaide, Steve Rosen as Nathan and Ben Crawford as Sky. There is not a weak link in this solid group of performers in terms of their singing, dancing or acting. However, Crawford gives the standout vocal performance with his charming “Luck Be a Lady,” and Sikora’s embodiment of Adelaide creates a lasting impression.
For me, it was nice to see Sikora in a leading role that was her own. Appearing in the ensemble of the recent Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, she understudied both Kristin Chenoweth and Katie Finneran. The night I saw the show, Sikora wowed the audience in Finneran’s place. Once again Sikora wows the audience with her inspired performance in Guys and Dolls. Crafting a unique voice for her portrayal of Adelaide, Sikora has mastered the character’s sense of hopefulness and combined it with the right amounts of precociousness and giddiness.
As good as the show’s four stars were, the most enthusiastic applause of the night went to Atlanta’s own Glenn Rainey after performing “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” As Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Rainey masterfully led the cast in this memorable, show-stopping song, proving that he is a true asset to the Atlanta theater community.
Even more impressive than the set design and the acting, Patti Colombo’s choreography creates mesmerizing numbers. It fits the classic tunes by Frank Loesser wonderfully, and the audience is able to relish in several extended dance sequences. The dazzling, Latin-infused “Havana” stands out as one of the highlights of the show. During this scene, Davie and the entire ensemble captivate the audience with their performances.
This show doesn’t break any new ground, but there is no reason for it do so. A fun classic that audiences of all ages can enjoy, Guys and Dolls provides the perfect conclusion for the summer portion of Theater of Stars’ 59th season. Since the tour ends in Atlanta, it’s a shame other cities won’t be treated to this Broadway-caliber production. The show runs through Sunday, August 21 at the Fox Theatre. For more information please visit Theater of the Stars’ website.
– A. Wesley