Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 22, 2011

Guys and Dolls

Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield
through July 16, 2011
by Walter A. Haggerty

Broadway Classic, Alive and Well in the Berkshires!

If you're looking for the perfect musical (or just a great evening's entertainment), look no farther than the Barrington Stage Company's staging of the classic, "Guys and Dolls," on through July 16. There's no question that this ageless Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows blockbuster has earned its classical status and is counted among the greatest of all Broadway musicals.

In its current revival, superbly directed by John Rando, it has been given a swiftly moving, meticulous production that scores on every level. When laughs start during the choreographed overture, the audience members know instantly that it is in good hands.

This "musical fable of Broadway," inspired by a host of colorful Damon Runyon characters, features a quartet of youthful performers with impressive Broadway credits. Michael Thomas Holmes' Nathan Detroit has the audience as well as Miss Adelaide, well within his grasp from the moment he steps on stage. Leslie Kritzer delivers an incomparable performance as Miss Adelaide capturing every ounce of humor without missing a beat (or a bump). In a second act duet, this couple hold a note so long that it would have rocked the Met. Morgan James as Sarah Brown sings beautifully and handles the transition of her character, from cold to hot, with style and sensitivity. Matthew Risch gives Sky Masterson class and believability with a flawless interpretation.

As impressive as the principals are, every role is cast with care, directed, and performed to perfection. From Daniel Marcus as Nicely-Nicely Johnson's show-stopping "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" to Gordon Stanley, as Arvide Abernathy, singing "More I Cannot Wish You" to Miss Sarah, each performer becomes a real individual with his or her own personality. Even the ensemble members become distinct, individual characters.

The choreography of Joshua Bergasse is extraordinary in its range and complexity. From sets and costumes to a first rate orchestral accompaniment, this production bodes well for a great summer of entertainment in the Berkshires. Bravo to all!