Friday, March 5, 1999
Review: CCHS's 'Guys and Dolls', a must see
When the Mosquito asked me to review the current CCHS production of Guys and Dolls, I didn't know what a lucky lady I would be. Backstage before the show male lead Nathan Detroit, deftly played by Carlisle's Tim Lee, assured me I was in for a musical delight. Still I couldn't imagine how thoroughly I would enjoy this professional and polished high school musical. From the entrance of conductor Roger Mansen, Jr. in the orchestra pit and his foxy ladies on stage, to the colorful Broadway street scene which opened and closed the play, my senses were continuously stimulated and delighted.
Through the conniving Nathan Detroit, a floating crap game operator, we meet a lovable bunch of gamblers including the rough Harry the Horse played by Ian Crowther of Carlisle, who intends to profit from Detroit's crap game. Guys and Dolls provides ample opportunity for its male actors to shine, particularly in the acrobatic crapshooters' dance synchronized beautifully with the dramatic orchestral score. The movement with hand springs and tumbling was well-executed by the ensemble.
In the "doll" department is the ever-patient Adelaide, leader of the coquettish Hot Box Dancers, enhanced by Carlisle's Ashley Bennett, Lindsay Smith and Sarah Mollo-Christiansen. Clad in pink and blue as milk maids with hoe in hand, the Hot Box Dancers endear themselves to the audience with a demure rendition of "A Bushel and a Peck." In Act II they dazzle, dressed in clingy, red gowns accented in black with a mink draped over one shoulder. In moments these dolls take their stand with a partial striptease. In sharp contrast to the innocent "A Bushel and a Peck," the same silly girls become powerful women as they belt out "Take Back Your Mink."
The most uplifting dance was performed by the Cuban Ensemble (Ashley Bennett, Nicole Babine, Ben Morse, and Lindsay Smith) to lively Latin rhythms at the El Cafe Caribe in Havana. The mood was so contagious that I and perhaps many other audience members were almost moved to join them.
On her soap box the prudish missionary, Sarah Brown, played by Colleen Sentance of Concord, labored in vain to save the immortal souls of New York's street people, alcoholics and gamblers. Sgt. Brown strode stiffly, accompanied by her subdued Mission Band with the pious Charis Yousefian and Valerie Schmidt of Carlisle. Each time the orchestra struck up the Save-a-Soul Mission's somber ditty "Follow the Fold," I was humorously sobered.
Across the board the singing was strong. Early in Act I the Crapshooters Ensemble (Ben Morse, Erik Munroe and Jonathan Supnik) sang a rousing "The Oldest...Crapgame in New York." Again in Act II the guys delivered an impressive "Luck Be a Lady." Tim Lee's crafty duet, "Sue Me," with Adelaide, his fiancée of 14 years, was solid and confident.
Kudos go to orchestra members Alicia Taylor, Jaimie Frailey, Megan Miller, Rebecca Kunnes, Charles Jakobsche, James Darling and Marissa Cheng for a good performance. Kudos also go to a terrific stage crew with Dan Pfeifer, stage manager; Chris Wurts, lighting design; Rebecca Kunnes; Ben Morse, Elizabeth Rolando and Caroline Cardiasmenos, publicity and tickets; Greg Weisman, running crew; and Luke Bagnaschi, Dante Falcone and Greg Weisman, set construction and painting.
As Tim Lee stated backstage before the show, "We are a dedicated group and everyone pulled together in the end." Guys and Dolls reflects the outstanding efforts of the orchestra, cast and crew. This show is a "must see!" Two performances remain this weekend on Friday and Saturday evenings.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito