Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 25, 2018

REVIEW: Majestic Theater, Guys and Dolls

Majestic Theater, West Springfield, MA
through May 27, 2018
by Mary Fernandez-Sierra

To enjoy a grand night of singing and superb ensemble acting, one can’t do better than attend The Majestic Theater’s Guys and Dolls.

Director Rand Foerster’s production of this classic musical features fast pace, lovely voices, sharp choreography, eye-catching costumes, a splendid orchestra and quality performances throughout. It is wonderful to watch a vintage show brought so nimbly to life and laughter again.

Much of the show’s charm derives from the over-the-top Damon Runyon New York characters and ridiculous dialogue, which are handled ably by this talented cast.

Buzz Roddy as Nathan Detroit and Annie Kerins as Adelaide are perfect examples. These actors possess stop-notch comic timing and fabulous facial expressions. Kerins really shows her stuff in the number “Adelaide’s Lament,” proving that you can still make something marvelous out of what many folks might consider an antique show tune.

Leading lady Rebecca Flinker as Sarah and Billy Clark Taylor as Sky Masterson are charming as the unlikely lovers at the center of this story. Their singing of “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” soars effortlessly, and the harmony is beautiful.

Of special note are the male ensemble voices, although the ladies are certainly wonderful as well (especially in “Bushel and a Peck”). Several of the numbers, such as “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat’ and “Luck Be Lady Tonight” verge on being show-stoppers due to the power of the male vocals, not to mention the artful dance moves designed by Stacy Ashley.

This choreographer has done an outstanding job taking old tunes to new places with clever motion and moves on a small stage, and musical director Mitch Chakour tempers all the strong ensemble voices to sound as one. The orchestra plays sweetly and smartly from a balcony above the actors. Bravo!
Photo by Lee Chambers 
Even with all of these elements in its favor, it is in the minor moments that this production shines most brightly. (Like the ensemble character who staggers out of a bar with a bottle, sees a pretty lady, and delicately douses himself with liquor in lieu of cologne before addressing her.) Company folks (BOTH men and women) of this show should be given medals for going above and beyond in their roles.

Costume Designer Dawn McKay needs to come in for some kudos, too, for the colorful patterns and stylishness of all the period clothing. Scenery by Greg Trochlil makes the most of the space with multi-level performance areas, and many authentic old-time touches (the pay-phone is incredible). Lighting by Daniel David Rist is bright and effective for an old-fashioned musical… need any more be said?

Guys and Dolls is a truly entertaining and enjoyable production.