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To me, modern productions of Guys and Dolls, the 1950s show which recently opened at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, have the good feeling of a pair of nicely worn, comfortable shoes – providing a pleasant and agreeable experience that is both cozy and familiar. So it goes with the B&B production directed by Elizabeth Stark Payne, choreographed by Ron Morgan, with musical direction by Kristy Templet.

The colorful Runyonesque characters in the story are well-done by many recognizable B&B performers. Betsy Norton (featured in last year’s Beef and Boards Christmas show) takes the role of Save-a-Soul Mission’s Sergeant Sarah Brown. Playing opposite her is Timothy Ford (Robert in 2015’s The Drowsy Chaperone) as slick gambler Sky Masterson. B&B regulars Deb Wims and Eddie Curry take the parts of Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit. All four players bring great energy to their roles. Ms. Norton’s bell-like soprano is a highlight of the show and Ms. Wims hits a high mark with her comic portrayal. Mssrs. Ford and Curry sing and dance through their iconic roles with aplomb.

Guys Dolls B&B.jpg

Featured players include Shaun Rice (returning after his great portrayal of Uncle Fester in last year’s The Addams Family) as Nicely Nicely Johnson; Mark Goetzinger (back for his 32nd production at B&B) as Arvide Abernathy, Sarah Brown’s grandfather; Jeff Stockberger (you all know funnyman Stockberger’s resume, I believe) as Benny Southstreet; Daniel Scharbrough (returning after much too long an absence) as Lt. Brannigan; and Daniel’s son – Peter Scharbrough (another B&B regular) as Big Jule. Highlights from this group include Rice and company in a lively “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and Goetzinger’s beautifully sensitive rendition of “More I Cannot Wish You”. Also noteworthy are the musical numbers presented at the Hot Box Nightclub – with Hot Box Girls Danielle Carnagua, Amanda Downey and AnnaLee Traeger joining Ms. Wims for several sparkling presentations.

A Bushel and a Peck

Deb Wims (top) as Miss Adelelaide performs “A Bushel and a Peck” with the Hot Box Girls.

 

Familiar tunes abound in the score: the standards “A Bushel and a Peck”, “If I Were a Bell” and “Luck Be A Lady” all come from this show and are well-presented by the cast. Ms. Templet’s orchestra does a really fine job with the tune-filled score, while other technical aspects, such as Michael Layton’s crafty set design, Jill Kelly’s bright array of costumes and Ryan Koharchik’s lighting scheme all add greatly to the total stage picture and the story-telling.

Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat2

Shaun Rice (center) as Nicely Nicely Johnson, leads the cast in a rousing “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”

Bottom line: A familiar show is presented with a comfortable depiction. And let’s not forget the added features at Beef and Boards: the wonderful buffet (this time featuring Honey Mustard Chicken and Battered Cod) plus, the usual wonderful service provided by every waiter and staff member.

Guys and Dolls continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through May 15th. Show times and reservations can be obtained at http://www.beefandboards.com or by calling 317-872-9664.

  • – Photos by Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
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