Northwest NEWS

August 20, 2001


Going Out: WRT's 'Guys and Dolls' is high spirited musical comedy

by Deborah Stone
   Woodinville Rep's summer musical, "Guys and Dolls," currently playing at Woodinville High School, got off to a slightly bumpy start opening night, but still managed to provide a fun evening of quality musical entertainment.
   The hot temps of the recent heat wave and airless auditorium unfortunately contributed to uncomfortable conditions, eventually forcing company members to bring in a fan for circulation. The noise from this fan, however, caused some acoustic problems and was distracting to theatergoers, particularly those seated in the rear vicinity.
   Despite these complications, the majority of the audience (many of whom were there to see friends and family members in the cast) hung on to support the talented ensemble of actors/singers/dancers and were rewarded by a high spirited performance of Damon Runyon's classic Broadway tale.
   "Guys and Dolls," first presented in 1950, has all the ingredients of a well-constructed musical comedy, and it continues to be performed by theater companies all across the country, as proof of its timeless appeal to all ages.
   WRT's production, directed by Jeff Harry Woolf, kept true to Broadway form and including all of the show's memorable and beloved tunes, such as "A Bushel and a Peck," "Adelaide's Lament," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," "I've Never Been in Love Before," "If I Were a Bell" and "Guys and Dolls." Conductor Rob Jones and the members of the orchestra did fine work in their enthusiastic performance of Frank Loesser's original music.
   Woolf made great casting choices, particularly with the show's four stars: the confident high roller Sky Masterson (Ky Dobson), straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown (Amanda Paulson), local gambler Nathan Detroit (Asher Levi) and his long-suffering fiancˇe Miss Adelaide (Rebecca Olson).
   Each actor brought his/her character to life with much style and pizzazz. Dobson made a slick and debonair Masterson, trying to win bets and woo the prim and proper Sarah Brown. He took command of his scenes and was a strong presence on stage.
   Paulson was well suited to her role and adept at showing her character's righteous indignation and do-gooder motives, along with her vulnerability and charm. She has a lovely melodic voice, but unfortunately, technical audio problems and the noisy fan made it difficult to hear her in certain numbers.
   Levi and Olson made a perfect couple with their natural comedic abilities, timing and expressiveness. Levi was all talk and bluster, as he sidestepped commitment or arranged an illegal crap game.
   Olson is a definite showstopper who knows how to strut her stuff as the main attraction at the Hot Box nightclub.
   She easily brought down the house opening night and had the audience in her hands as she lamented, in nasal inflected tones, about her 14-year engagement to Nathan in the number, "Adelaide's Lament."
   A big part of a show such as this one is the dancing and Art Anderson's and Jeanette LeGault's collaborative choreography definitely did not disappoint viewers. It was right on the mark and energetically executed by the entire cast.
   Mary Petrick's costumes and Steven Mcgillvray's sets added bold color and style to the show, accurately depicting New York in a bygone era.
   WRT continues to thrive, having established a tradition of offering quality theater for the local community. It provides reasonably priced family entertainment and is a viable option to the Seattle theater scene without the traffic and parking hassles.
   "Guys and Dolls" runs through Aug. 25. For ticket information, call (425) 481-8502.