Review submitted by Leslie Robinson of Severna Park High School.
What can you do when the chips are down, and you feel like the stakes are against you? If you’re looking for something to brighten your spirit, it’s a sure thing that ‘Guys and Dolls’ at Glenelg Country School will deliver!
This 1951 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical features a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows with toe-tapping music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, with never a dull moment throughout the show. The story follows a group of gamblers who are trying to find a place for their high stakes crap game in prohibition-era Manhattan. Doing their best to steer them in the right direction are the righteously uptight members of the Save-a-Soul Mission. Toss in a showgirl with a permanent cold who’s been trying to get married for 14 years, and odds are you’ve got a winning ticket!
As the overture began with the cast in a dramatic silhouette, the audience was transported into the busy streets alive with the hustle and bustle of daily city life. The cast’s professionalism shone through while passionately persisting through minor sound hiccups. Their energetic pantomime was captivating, perfectly building anticipation for the drama to unfold. Similarly, Miss Adelaide’s Hot Box Girls were vivacious, their sizzling dance numbers a refreshing complement to the primary plotline.
Izzy DeBonis perfectly captured the winsome Miss Adelaide with her endearing rendition of ‘A Bushel and a Peck.’ Her humor and genuine appeal kept the audience sympathetic towards her plight and firmly rooting for her long-awaited marriage. Her fiance’, the charismatic Nathan Detroit, was excellently portrayed by Alejandro Flores-Chévere who personified his character in songs like ‘Sue Me.’ Gavin Gundersen as Sky Masterson was the ace in the hole, charming all as the rich, hardened gambler with his smooth baritone, describing his life in ‘My Time of Day.’ Matching him with admirable acting, Amber Garcia epitomized the pious, naive nature of his eventual love interest, Sergeant Sarah Brown.
As Sarah Brown’s grandfather Arvide Abernathy, Dyllon Ravenell’s sweet demeanor and gentle vocals were comforting in ‘More I Cannot Wish You.’ McKenzie Kittrell upped the ante with her lighthearted comic relief as Nicely Nicely Johnson, enrapturing both the gamblers and the missionaries during the rollicking ‘Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.’ Demonstrating impeccable technique and stage presence, Ava Vanek stood out as Hot Box Girl Allison and featured dancer in ‘Havana.’
This production showcased a phenomenal set by the GCS Set Design and Construction Crews who superbly captured Manhattan’s essence, smoothly transitioning into the mission and even Havana, Cuba! Small details such as bricks painted as die and railings with the four card suits were a tribute to their dedication and careful design. Likewise, Kiran Saini’s publicity plan was well crafted, even incorporating show attendance as part of a longstanding school-wide competition.
The familiar tunes, likable characters, and heartwarming happy ending will certainly be the winning ticket for audiences young and old. You’ll really hit the jackpot when you go see Glenelg Country School’s performance of ‘Guys and Dolls!’
The performance reviewed was from Thursday, 2/27/2020.
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