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Published: Saturday, 6/15/2002

‘Guys and Dolls' and a whole lot of fun

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

I can never quite catch the moment, but at some point early in Guys and Dolls, I notice a big grin plastered on my face.

In the dress rehearsal for the Toledo Repertoire Theatre's production, the smile was there early, real early. It showed up during the “Fugue for Tinhorns,” the opening number, when I caught sight of Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Sam Botek, Jr.), Rusty Charlie (Brady Sikorski), and Benny Southstreet (Thom Singer) in their Day-glo suits, lime green, magenta, and screaming blue, respectively.

And it got even wider as Miss Adelaide (Becky Downs) tried to figure out ways to turn her 14-year engagement to Nathan Detroit (Zach Lahey) into a wedding ring.

The Rep opened Guys and Dolls last night on the stage of the Franciscan Center of Lourdes College. It is a delight.

The story is basically that of two romances and a craps game.

In the New York days of fedoras and burlesque shows, Nathan Detroit is having trouble finding a new site to hold his craps game. His long-time fiancee, Miss Adelaide, the hit of the Hot Box nightclub, wants him to give up the game and settle down.

Meanwhile, Sky Masterson (Michael Searle), a high roller, comes to town and has his interest piqued by Sarah Brown (Gretchen Skeldon), a Salvation Army worker who wants to convert gamblers and sinners, not fall in love with one.

The action of Guys and Dolls is bouyed by Frank Loesser's wonderful songs, which include “Take Back Your Mink,” “Luck Be A Lady,” and “Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat.”

Director Gloria Moulopoulos has assembled a fine cast that obviously delights in the play and has plenty of energy and talent to negotiate all the dancing. Keep an eye out for Michael Quinichett, an unnamed gambler. He wears mustard yellow trousers, and I think his legs are made of elastic.

Hooray for the 16-piece orchestra. It adds a lot and never overpowers the singers.

A few technical problems marred the proceedings, the biggest of which was the miking. Skeldon has a lovely voice, quite apparent in some of her songs. In others, she sounded hollow and a bit muted.

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“Guys and Dolls” will continue at 8 p.m. today and June 20-22 and at 2:30 p.m. June 23 in the Franciscan Life Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets, $28 with some discounts available, may be purchased at the Rep business office, 1717 Adams St., or at the Franciscan Center box office an hour before each show. Information: 419-243-9277.



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