At Unionville High School, show runs from Thursday through Saturday
By Eddy K. Foster, Staff Writer, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH- Unionville High School’s musical production of Guys and Dolls appears to be set to premier in stylish fashion — making it one of the can’t=miss events this spring in Unionville.
The 1950 Frank Loesser romantic comedy is being directed by Betsy Ballard, alongside musical director Brittany Baumeister, choreographer Amy Hipp-Heffner, conductor Scott Litzenberg, and costume designer Rita Crowley.
The show opens in the streets of post-war New York City with the trio of Nicely-Nicely Johnson (portrayed by Abu Akki), Benny Southstreet (Jordan Hodess), and Rusty Charlie (Samir Streatfield) singing about their picks in an upcoming horse race (“Fugue for Tinhorns”). Before long, Sgt. Sarah Brown (Victoria Provost) and her Save-a-Soul mission band enter the scene to try to save the sinners of New York (“Follow the Fold”). Their group, consisting of actors Christian Waibel, Rachel Stoltz, David Dorwart, Kelsey Hineman, Annie Belgam, Tori Francis, Katie Girard, Simran Jain, Kati Roper, Caroline Salisbury, and Catherine Stookey, finally retreats to their mission after they are ignored by the sinners on the street.
Next, we are introduced to Nathan Detroit (Brandon Baumeister), who is looking for a new location for his famous craps game (“The Oldest Established”) while simultaneously attempting to hide his gambling operation from his fiancée of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (Natalie Walden). Nathan finds a new location for his game, but the owner wants a $1,000 bribe. To get this money, he bets notorious gambler Sky Masterson (Evan Dupuis) that Sky won’t be able to take Save-a-Soul mission leader Sarah Brown on a date to Havana, Cuba. Masterson accepts, and begins the process of wooing Brown. He promises her he will bring twelve genuine sinners to their next prayer meeting if she will come with him on a date to Havana, Cuba (“I’ll Know”).
At this point, the story takes off in wild directions. We are introduced to Miss Adelaide’s dancers at Hot Box cabaret (“A Bushel and a Peck” and “Adelaide’s Lament”) where we are introduced to Adelaide’s sneezing psychoses. Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet then lament that their friends will do anything for the women they love (“Guys and Dolls”).
Back at the mission, General Matilda Cartwright (Amy Gottsegen) shows up and threatens to shutter the operation unless she sees more sinners being saved. Seeing no other choice, Sarah Brown takes Sky Masterson up on his offer of 12 sinners in exchange for a date. We are then taken to the steamy beaches of Havana, Cuba, where sensual dancers Becky Jones, Ilsa Mroz, Eva Narun, and Marina Wright light up the night with their Latin dance (“Havana”). Sarah accidently gets drunk, and following a bar fight she falls in love with Sky (“If I Were a
She asks Sky to stay in Cuba, but realizing she is drunk and falling in love himself he insists they go back to New York. Back home, a now-sober Sarah and Sky admit their love for each other (“My Time of Day/I’ve Never Been in Love Before”). However, their romance is interrupted by a surprise revelation and Sarah leaves Sky in the street at intermission. To find out the ending, attend the debut of the show on Thursday.
The show is beautifully produced, and credit is due the actors, staff, and directors. The sets, from the bright lights of The Hot Box to the amorous tones of Havana, are all beautiful. Watch out for soaring soprano Victoria Provost (Sgt. Sarah Brown) and saucy alto Natalie Walden (Miss Adelaide) to steal the show, alongside strong performances from all the actors and actresses. Be prepared to be stunned by Amy Hipp-Heffner’s choreography and Rita Crowley’s bright period costumes. Conductor Scott Litzenberg and his orchestra set the mood with soaring horns and perfectly executed music.
The show runs from Thursday 2/28 through Saturday 3/2. All shows start at 7:30pm.