The stage opens with an impressive performance of the difficult Fugue for Tinhorns, and suddenly I knew the Musical Theatre Department had quite the show in store for us this year. It was quite the change from past years to see such a lighthearted, flamboyant musical, considering the first musical I saw performed on this stage was Les Misérables. This was the first time I have been able to leave the theatre without contemplating the show for hours time after. It was pure, straightforward, good entertainment. Of course, it could be said that this is a negative quality of a performance, but I believe Guys and Dolls should be performed in this way. For the last 60 years, Guys and Dolls has been a comedic, cheerful show with classic and memorable tunes that people will have stuck in their heads for days. Therefore, it was quite refreshing to leave a Michigan School of Theatre performance and for once not be caught up in analyzing the show.
Now I would love to argue that either the guys cast or the dolls cast far outshone the other, but this argument simply cannot be made. The lead female actresses played their parts perfectly. Adelaide Lament was adorable and charming, with an incredible confidence when performing in her hotbox shows. She, as well as the rest of the cast, used the New York accent impeccably without ever faltering. Each time she came on the stage, I had a smile on my face because of the joy I got from watching her perform. Sarah Brown’s consternation from her interactions with Sky were endearing and their scene in Havana clearly portrayed the actors’ chemistry, even if it wasn’t featured much throughout the rest of the play.
Additionally, the guys cast was spectacular. Sky Masterson was charming and suave, per usual, while Nathan Detroit was portrayed differently from the persona I am used to seeing in Guys and Dolls. In this performance, the actor who played Nathan made him quirky and goofy, which made the whole show all the more entertaining. But above and beyond the lead male characters was the male chorus. Their performance of the Crapshooters Ballet must have been the most impressive dance number I have seen performed in a play on this campus. The timing was impeccable, with every member of the chorus completely in synchronicity. The moves were challenging, but executed with grace and ease, making the whole number look incredibly easy. I must say this was, in my opinion, the shining moment of the entire musical. Without a challenging emotional struggle to portray on stage, as in Les Misérables, the show may have lacked its ‘wow’ factor if not for this dance number.
Overall, I am overjoyed to have seen our talented students perform yet again. I do miss the intense emotional performances of past years, but it was a nice change to have an unambiguously fun show. I do look forward to next year’s performance of The Little Mermaid and to seeing the new students that will be brought into the spotlight!