Theatre Information

Washington-Lee High School Guys and Dolls

By • Jun 4th, 2013 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

The bets are on, but the crap game may be off if Nathan Detroit can’t find a location to hold it in time. Luckily for him, there’s a mission right down the road, and with the arrival of a certain gambler the possibilities are endless. The dice are rolling, the hymns are being sung, and love is in the air in Washington-Lee High School’s production of Guys and Dolls.

Guys and Dolls premiered on Broadway in 1951, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. The show was met with immediate success; running 1,200 performances and winning all five of its Tony nominations. Since the original production, Guys and Dolls has been remade several times, both on stage and on the big screen in a 1955 movie. The story follows Nathan Detroit and his attempts to find a location for his long-standing crap game, while trying to avoid his impending wedding with his fiancé of 14 years, Miss Adelaide. In a last act of desperation, Nathan makes a bet that the cunning Sky Masterson can’t take the prude missionary Sarah Brown to Havana, Cuba. Sky accepts the challenge, and unleashes a chain of events chockfull of drama and hilarity!

Guys and Dolls uniquely has four lead roles, all who gave commendable performances. Jeffrey Warren as Nathan Detroit gave a stellar performance full of grand gestures and engaging facial expressions. Warren also displayed a swooning singing voice, and undeniable chemistry with Betsy Yuhas, who played Miss Adelaide. Yuhas’ pitiful sneezes and New York accented whine contributed greatly to her comedic performance. Alicia Hartz and Michael Gaines replicated Warren and Yuhas’ success as Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson. Hartz had a commanding stage presence, which she utilized to display a variety of emotions ranging from the religious fanatic to the tipsy partier. Hartz’s interactions with Gaines were overflowing with romantic tension, creating an emotional relationship.

James Randall gave a laudable performance as Nicely Nicely Johnson, especially in the song “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.” Randall’s droll and comedic style of speaking was matched by his over-the-top physicality. Also notable was Mecca Whiters-Russell as Grandmother Arvida Abernathy. Whiters-Russell displayed real sincerity in her role, as well as a lovely voice. Featured actors Joe Meyers and Amy Sheahan as Big Julie and General Melinda Cartwright committed fully to their characters despite their limited stage time. The ensemble of crapshooters formed a cohesive unit, usually in sync in their dances, and together in their harmonies.

The Washington-Lee Pit Orchestra did a commendable job whether performing on their own or accompanying the actors. They stayed on tempo throughout the performance, even during the challenging overture. The lighting, headed by Henry Conklin and Paul Soutter, was always on cue and brought attention to important characters in intentionally crowded scenes.

Despite a couple of flat notes and a runaway die, you can bet that Washington-Lee High School rolled up a real winner in their production of Guys and Dolls.

by Kat Owczarski of Oakcrest School

Photo Gallery

Jeffrey Warren (Nathan Detroit)  and Betsy Yuhas (Adelaide) Michael Gaines (Sky Masterson) and Alicia Hartz (Sarah Brown)
Jeffrey Warren (Nathan Detroit) and Betsy Yuhas (Adelaide)
Michael Gaines (Sky Masterson) and Alicia Hartz (Sarah Brown)
Cast in the finale song, Happy Ending
Cast in the finale song, Happy Ending

Photos by Lecia Stock

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