'Guys and Dolls' brings stunning choreography, resplendent lighting to Wilson stage

November 26, 2012

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Kayla Forde, a student at Duke Ellington School of the Arts reviews “Guys and Dolls” performed by Woodrow Wilson Senior High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program .

“Call it sad, call it funny. But it's better than even money, that the guy's only doing it for some doll.” Woodrow Wilson Senior High School’s theater arts cast certainly proved they were a strong ensemble on Saturday evening’s production of Guys and Dolls.

Written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls is an adaptation of short stories written by Damon Runyon. Set in New York, the musical is centered on the lives of gangsters, gamblers, dancers, and ironically enough-- missionaries. The production premiered on Broadway in 1950 and won a Tony Award for Best Musical. A film adaptation starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jean Simmons later premiered in 1955.

The actors of Wilson High’s Theater Arts troupe achieved a plausible show that was anchored by astounding ensemble work. Each musical number performed by duos, trios, and even the entire cast was consistently on the nose with their exceptional harmony. The luminous lighting, cutting-edge choreography, and standout supporting actors also played a huge part in the production’s triumph.

David Peck as Sky Materson was remarkable. Throughout the show he maintained great vocal performances and commanded the stage. He and Sarah Brown played by Samantha Cherukuri had fine chemistry and maintained natural, believable intimacy during the musical. Des O’Brien as spunky gambler Nathan Detroit had a credible performance, impeccable comedic timing, and shined during the musical number “The Oldest Established.”

Accompanying the leads were a few standout thespians that helped guide the show. Nicely-Nicely Johnson played by Zac Nachbar-Seckel was undeniably a crowd favorite. He had great execution of choreography and his accent created clear character distinction. His most profound moment was during the number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” which was also a highlight performance for the whole cast. Abby Melick as General Matilda B. Cartwright had a knockout performance. Her comedic timing was strong; she took great risks, and quickly became a memorable character. Two dancers that also stood out during the show were AJ Harris and Cleo Krupa of the Havana Featured Dancers.

The show was complete with brilliant lighting, vibrant, time-period-appropriate costumes, and an effortless orchestra. The stage crew moved efficiently and out of sight during the production. However, at some points they could be heard. The sound on the mics was fairly inconsistent, caused by occasional popping noises. Sometimes, it was the lack of annunciation or projection by actors that caused the audience to miss a few lines in the show.

Overall, Wilson’s Theater Arts Company left its audience with a very satisfying performance.

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