Thursday, December 31, 2015

REVIEW: Guys & Dolls at the Light Opera Works CLOSES 1/3/2016

We went yesterday afternoon to see the Light Opera Works show of Guys and Dolls (I previewed the show earlier on the blog).  The show is great, and sadly ends this week, so by all means, if you have the opportunity, you should go!

Light Opera Works is a professional theatre in residence at the Cahn Auditorium on Northwestern's campus.  They produce 4 main shows a year, starting in the summer, and ending in December.  They specialize in musical theater works.  This year their holiday show is Guys and Dolls, next year it will be Die FleiderMaus.  Other shows for next year include My Fair Lady and Mame.  (On a side note, at the curtain speech the executive director said they are looking for a new name for the theatre, and are soliciting suggestions from the public.  If you've got an idea, send it their way!)

Steve Silver (left) as Nathan Detroit betting with Justin Adair
(Sky Masterson)  Nathan couldn't remember the color of his tie.
photo by Mona Luan.
Guys and Dolls is a great and classic musical, with lots of great songs and characters.  I explained the show to my 7 year old son (who saw the show with us) like this:

 Nathan Detroit is a gambler who doesn't have the money to rent a space for his illegal gambling game.  To get the money, he bets his friend Sky Masterson that he can't get a lady who works at a church (Sergeant Sarah) to kiss him.  While Sky is trying to win the bet, he and the lady fall in love.  (It misses a lot of the plot points, but gets the gist across! And manages to avoid the sexual-political mine pits of taking a doll to Havana!)

The show, which featured a full orchestra, was very well-done.  The cast were all in fine form, and all of the main characters had excellent singing voices.  I was particularly enamored of some of the bit players, especially Cary Lovett who played Nicely Nicely Johnson.

Jim Heatherly and Cary Lovett as Benny and Nicely.
 photo by Mona Luan
He had a great stage presence, a wonderful voice, and seemed to be channeling Buddy Hackett.  His revival showstopping piece Sit Down Your Rocking The Boat was great, as was the Fugue for Tin Horns and Guys and Dolls with partner Jim Heatherly as Benny Southstreet.  I also thought that the chorus of dancers and swings did a great job of making 1930's Time Square come to life.

Both of the actors that played Sky and Sarah Brown also did a great job.  Their scenes in Havana and the songs If I were a bell/ My Time of Night both rang true, as did Sky's song "Luck Be A Lady"  One song that was well sung, but is now a little dated was the denouement song "Marry The Man Today"  In it, Adelaide and Sarah get the idea to marry today, and change their husbands tomorrow.

Here's some of the lyrics:
The two sets of lovers:
Sarah & Sky above (Elizabeth Telford/Justin Adair)
Nathan & Adelaide below. (Steve Silver/Sarah Larson)
photo by Mona Luan

Marry the man today.
Trouble though he may be
Much as he likes to play
Crazy and wild and free
Marry the man today
Rather than sigh in sorrow
Marry the man today
And change his ways tomorrow.
Marry the man today.
Marry the man today
Maybe he's leaving town
Don't let him get away
Hurry and track him down
Counterattack him and
Marry the man today
Give him the girlish laughter
Give him your hand today

And save the fist for after.

As I said to my wife at the end of the show, "How'd that work out for you?"  My point being that getting married with the expectation that your partner will change is a 1940's concept.   Now you need to accept your partner for who they are.  And if you don't, divorce is in your future. But that's a quibble.

In short this is a great production of a classic musical, and you will leave humming the classic songs, just like we did.

Go if you can, it closes January 3!

Sunday, December 27 at 2 pm
Wednesday, December 30 at 2 pm
(Family matinee -- meet the cast after the show)
Thursday, December 31 at 8 pm (New Year's Eve)
Friday, January 1, 2016 at 8 pm
Saturday, January 2 at 8 pm
Sunday, January 3 at 2 pm

Tickets start at $34.  (Ages 21 and younger are 1/2 price!)  They suggest that this show is suitable for kids ages 8 and older.

Production is at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street in Evanston.

You can purchase tickets by calling (847) 920-5360 or by visiting their website.


No comments: