The stage lights are ready to shine on the Broadway cabaret dancers. Bets are going down on an illegal craps game, and missionaries are attempting to lead people down a moral and respectable path. So begins Centennial High School's recent production of "Guys and Dolls."
The play follows Nathan Detroit, who needs $1,000 to hold his craps game in the Biltmore Garage. Unfortunately, he's out of cash. So he makes a bet with Sky Masterson (Danny Townsend), the highest better in the country, that Sky can't take Sgt. Sarah Brown (Elizabeth Dobbins), a local missionary, to Havana with him for a night. Meanwhile, Nathan's fiancee, Adelaide (Elaine Feinstein), is convinced that Nathan's fear of commitment is causing her cold to linger.
Centennial's production was anchored by the dynamic talent of the cast members. The choreography was scaled perfectly to the 55-member cast. Never was there a chaotic or a dead scene. Although the ensemble pieces could have been more energetic, the male chorus was exceptional with its outstanding harmonies.
Townsend gave a phenomenal performance as Sky. Rarely did he sing a note off key, and his stage presence was that of a true high roller. Feinstein as Adelaide delivered a high energy, comedic performance with her incessant whining.
Another notable in the production was Alborz Ghandehari, who played Nicely Nicely Johnson. Ghandehari's acting was well above expectations for a high school production as he portrayed Nathan Detroit's right-hand man.
The neon street signs in the background of the Broadway strip added interest to the street scenes; but the timing of the spotlights seemed to be slightly off at times. Despite some mix-ups with props, the scene changes went rather smoothly and were rarely heard by the audience.
With an amusing, feel-good performance, Centennial's "Guys and Dolls" captured what life, love and especially gambling were like in author Damon Runyon's 1940s.
Throughout the school year, the Howard Extra publishes reviews of high school shows that student critics have written under the guidance of mentors as part of the Critics and Awards Program, also known as Cappies. Now in its third season in Howard County, the program recognizes the achievements of young performers, writers, directors and stage crews.