Guys and Dolls – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Lots of things in life are a real gamble, like what family you are born into, what schools you attend, and who you marry. You can plan all you want, but chance and fate play a big role in how your life turns out.

Imagine if your whole life was a gamble…like one of the recent big winners on Jeopardy! James Holtzholder. More than five decades ago another famous gambler was Sky Masterson and the dice are loaded and the odds are 8 to 5 that the current production of Damon Runyon’s colorful musical tale “Guys and Dolls” is a sure bet. The Downtown Cabaret Theatre of Bridgeport is doing a super-duper, bang up job weekends until Saturday, October 14 and you’re guaranteed to have a bushel and a peck of pure pleasure.

Felicia Varvaras’s Sarah Brown, the young woman who runs the Save- A- Soul Mission in the Bowery of New York is no match for the persuasive powers of Vincent Mccoy’s Sky Masterson. She is dedicated to her cause to rescue sinners and she has the Lord on her side but Sky’s devilishly charming ways sweep her off her sturdy and sensible oxford clad feet. Can he change her proper and prim ways? Sky loves a challenge and a great wager.

Of course, when Sarah learns Sky’s announcement that he is a repentant sinner, a reformed gambler, is all a ruse, a devious plot to win a wager against Nathan Detroit (Duane Lanham), all bets are off. Nathan just wants to win $1000 from Sky to fund his perpetually floating crap game and fool the local constabulary, a dogged Lt. Brannigan (Martin Garcia) who wants to shut Nathan’s game down permanently.

Also ruling against Nathan is his fiancée of fourteen years, an adorable Miss Adelaide, portrayed by Jeannine Yoder, who suffers a cold as she deals with her ongoing disappointment that her nuptials are not legalized, consummated and made legitimate.

Songs such as “I’ll Know,” “If I Were a Bell,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Take Back Your Mink,” “More I Cannot Wish You,” (sung sweetly by Sarah’s grandfather, played by Chris Hetherington) and “Marry the Man Today” carry the action from the Broadway streets to the bowels of the sewers as Lady Luck lurks in all the dark corners. Tunes such as “Adelaide’s Lament,” “Sue Me” and Nicely-Nicely’s (John Michael Whitney) “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” are worth the price of admission all by themselves.

With lively direction by Bradford Blake, this Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows classic is a sure fire hit. Add to that the energetic choreography by Olivia Rivera, the amazing set design and projection design by David Kievit, the colorful costuming by Lesley Neilson-Bowman, the effective lighting by Jen Gleason and the dynamic sound direction by Zachery Kampler, plus a powerful and talented ensemble cast and you couldn’t ask for a better two and a half hours of exciting entertainment.

For tickets ($23.50), call the Downtown Cabaret, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636 or online at Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Remember this is cabaret so bring your goodies to enjoy.

Don’t resist the temptation and surrender to this high powered perfection. It’s a clear winner!