Saturday, August 1, 2009

Review - "Guys & Dolls: In Concert"

A 60-year old musical gets the 'In-Concert' treatment and ultimately entertains.

Some of the cast, phenomenal: Ken Page as "Nicely-Nicely" - stealing the show with "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat"; Ruth Williamson as "Gen. Cartwright" and Jason Graae as "Benny Southstreet". Some of the cast, very good: Ellen Greene as "Adelaide"; Scott Bakula as "Nathan Detroit"; and - surprisingly - Brian Stokes-Mitchell as "Sky Masterson" (surprising because he was only good and not phenomenal).

BSM seemed to walk through this production, but probably because if he fully embraced the role and made it his, Jessica Biel (as "Sister Sarah") - who played opposite him - would have run off the stage, crying at how poorly prepared and cast she was. You cannot pair BSM with such a novice. JB wasn't horrible, but next to a powerhouse? Duets were painful and BSM had to hold back.

In fairness to everyone, this was the first night of a three-night run and I did catch a few flubbed lines, but the Orchestra sounded great and voices were pretty solid. Choreography by Donna McKechnie (who won a Tony in 1976 for the role of 'Cassie' in "A Chorus Line") was good, but not great. Most dances felt like they were possibly grander at some point, but on the small-ish Bowl stage, felt squeezed.

Overall production's pacing was a little sluggish at times, but ultimately entertaining, tuneful and worth a shot (in the cheaper seats).

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