Only a handful of South Florida theaters have the resources—or the resolve—to tackle the classics of musical theater. With a dedicated fan base and a phenomenal group ticket sales operation, Broward Stage Door continues to pack its Coral Springs theater for these gems of the repertoire.
This time, the company offers Guys and Dolls, the story of an unlikely romance between Sky Masterson, a high-rolling gambler willing to bet on anything, and the pious, teetotalling Sgt. Sarah Brown from the Save A Soul Mission in New York City.
When Masterson accepts a bet from local gambling ring boss Nathan Detroit that he can get any “doll” to fly with him for a night of dinner and dancing in Havana, Detroit knows he can’t lose by challenging Masterson to woo Brown. It’s classic Broadway: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, they are torn apart and later reunite to live happily ever after, all in a couple of hours with lots of memorable song and dance numbers from Frank Loesser that audiences were still humming as they exited the theater.
With matinee-idol good looks and a silky baritone voice, Adam Bashian is a real star in his role as Sky Masterson. He is backed up by strong performances by Phil Gosselin and Justin Lore as wily gamblers Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Nathan Detroit, and Kevin Reilly as tireless copper Lt. Brannigan, decked out in a Dick Tracy-yellow overcoat. Jill Taylor Anthony nails Detroit’s girlfriend, naïve nightclub singer Miss Adelaide. Colleen Amaya, as a Sarah, delivers beautiful, crystal clear vocals throughout the show, but there just isn’t much romantic chemistry with Bashian’s Sky.
Despite the reliance on canned accompaniment tracks, this production, under the musical direction of Donald Chan, consistently delivers with even musical performances all around.
Set designer Sean McClelland contributes a flexible set design that quickly transforms Broward Stage Door’s stage from the busy streets of New York City to a hopping nightclub, the spare Mission meeting room and even steamy Havana. Despite the clever use of the turntable, the set, painted by Chastity Collins and Linda Sage, has an amateurish, two-dimensional look that just doesn’t stand up to the vibrant Technicolor costumes from Costume World. And, as often happens at Stage Door, the cast finds itself awkwardly maneuvering in very tight quarters thanks to the expansive set. Chrissi Ardito’s daring choreography notably suffers as a result.
When Broward Stage Door takes a risk and rolls the dice—as it has done in the past with A Little Night Music, The Light in the Piazza and to a lesser degree with The Drowsy Chaperone and Mack and Mabel—the result is a big, big winner. Guys and Dolls was a safer bet, but the company still beats the odds with an entertaining show that will continue to pack the house.
Guys and Dolls
Through Dec. 4
Broward Stage Door Theatre
8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs
Tickets at StageDoorTheatre.com