Guys and Dolls – Review by Bonnie Goldbert

Sky Masterson has been known to make a bet on which cockroach will reach a wedge of cheese first or whether Mindy’s Deli will sell more cheesecake or strudel on any given day. But when he makes a wager that he can convince a certain prim and proper Salvation Army recruiter to accompany him to Cuba for a lunch date, he may have overestimated his powers of persuasion and charm.

To discover first hand how successful this influential gambler is take your dice, loaded or not, to ACT of Ridgefield for a quick lesson or three courtesy of Damon Runyon’s inspired characters in the classical musical comedy “Guys and Dolls” laying odds of success until Sunday, November 20, with book by Jo Sterling and Abe Burrows and music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.

Get ready to love this show a bushel and a peck, one that has been plotting saints against sinners for over seven decades, thanks to the adorable and sympathetic entreaties of Donna Vivino’s Miss Adelaide. The epitome of patience, she has been standing at the altar for fourteen years, waiting for her fiancé Nathan Detroit, a reluctant and fast talking Phil Stoves. The fact that Miss Adelaide abhors gambling and Nathan can’t wait to make a quick buck running crap games make the chances of him being honorable in the next century about 100 to 1. Nathan plots to con the biggest bettor of them all, the smooth Matt Faucher as Sky Masterson, to finance his latest illegal endeavor by tricking him. He bets Sky he can’t get the pious and pure head of the Save-A-Soul Mission run by a dedicated to saving sinners Katherine Riddle as Miss Sarah Brown to fly off with him to Havana. Unexpectedly Sky accomplishes the impossible and ends up pledging one dozen genuine sinners to Sarah’s cause, like Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Izzy Figueroa) and Big Jule (Victor Hernandez), while the local constable (Mike Boland) tries unsuccessfully to catch all the gamblers in the act.

Glorious Frank Loesser tunes propel this inspired musical like Adelaide’s perpetual cold in “Adelaide’s Lament” caused by Nathan’s irresponsibility, Sarah’s grandmother Arvide’s (Rebecca Hoodwin) tender love advice in “More I Cannot Wish You,” Nicely-Nicely’s fervent plea “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and Sky’s determined prayer “Luck Be a Lady,“ among many others. Daniel C. Levine directs this colorful cast of characters on a rollicking set designed by Jack Mehler, with a rainbow of costumes created by Claudia Stefany, in a high powered production that’s a sure crowd pleaser.

For tickets ($63-153), call ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) 36 Old Quarry Road, Ridgefield at 475-215-5497 or online at Performances are Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. (plus 2 p.m. on November 11), Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Masks are encouraged but not required. Resident music supervisor Bryan Perri will perform a special fundraiser of songs, stories and conversation, “Broadway Unplugged,“ on Monday, December 12 at 7 p.m.

Come place your winning wager on a surefire and guaranteed bet!

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