All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.
Gavin Moore, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology , reviews Paul VI Catholic High School’s ‘Guys and Dolls’as part of the Cappies Critics and Awards Program.
Welcome to New York City circa 1950, where gamblers make their bets, dancing girls dazzle crowds, and a whole lot of luck can be found on the streets. From the Big Apple to Havana, gangsters to gospels, Paul VI Catholic High School presented the audience with spectacular dance numbers, infectious energy and soaring vocals in their production of Guys and Dolls.
Written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows with music and lyrics from Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls was based on two short stories by Damon Runyon and premiered on Broadway in 1950. The show was met with positive critical response and huge box office success, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical, and is considered to one of the most influential shows in the history of musical theater. The plot follows two couples: Nathan Detroit, a gambler running an illegal crap game in New York City, has been engaged to Miss Adelaide for 14 years, continuing to host the crap game despite his fiancée's desire for him to give up the game settle down. Another gambler, Sky Masterson, gets mixed up with Sergeant Sarah Brown from the Save-a-Soul mission after he takes Detroit up on a bet that he can take any girl to Cuba. What follows is a delightful musical comedy of hilarity and romance.
Spencer Loessberg stepped into the role of Nathan Detroit, infusing the suave character with ardor and ambition through his excellent vocal ability and commanding stage presence. Assuming the persona of ditzy cabaret dancer Miss Adelaide, Abby Rozmajzl’s incredible vocal range and flexibility was fully showcased in “Bushel and a Peck" and “Adelaide’s Lament." As Sky Masterson, Jacob Rozmajzl boasted incredible personality and powerful vocals, utilizing his wide range of facial expressions and superb vocals to mark numbers such as “Luck Be a Lady” as true highlights of the production. Caleigh Davis depicted "Missionary Doll" Sarah Brown with remarkable attention to her character’s personality. The chemistry displayed by both couples was impeccable, providing a foundation for the rest of the show to build on.
In addition to compelling leads, several supporting actors stood out from amongst the large cast. J.J. Cummings imbued the role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson with fervor; truly shining in the show-stopping number, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” As Big Jule, an infamous Chicago mobster, Joey Arzeno presented the comical character with hilarious physicality and expression, also showcasing impressive dancing ability. Jason Lockwood as Arvide Abernathy, Sarah's wise uncle and fellow missionary, was one of the most engaged performers and also wowed audience members with tremendous vocal talent in “More I Cannot Wish You.” Overall, fraternity and camaraderie were evident in the ensemble, who all remained enthusiastic throughout the production.
The show was further strengthened by excellent technical aspects. An elaborate set, exquisite in design and almost professional in construction, provided a stunning backdrop for the musical, bringing the glitz and glamour of New York City to the stage. Many pieces of scenery contained working lights, including street lights to depict nighttime settings. The extensive number of costumes and props was impressive, though some did not seem appropriate for the time period. Sound was brilliantly handled, without any obvious miscues, while lighting design enhanced the kaleidoscopic atmosphere.
Though craps may be a game of luck, Paul VI Catholic High School left nothing up to chance in their vivacious production of a timeless musical. With beautiful technical elements, committed characterizations and uproarious hilarity, the commendable cast and crew of Guys and Dolls succeeded in presenting audience members with a thoroughly vibrant and entertaining night of theater.