[This letter consists of text and 3 images embedded in the text; I'm not sure how it will appear in AOL mail]

Saturday night I went to Arena Stage's new production of Loesser's Guys and Dolls. It was basically done with Arena's company but with some outside pickups and one star name, Gregory Hines.

The play was presented generally straight and without too many politically correct updates [they were reserved for the question and answer section on the production]. It was done professionally and slickly, but without much spark; even the Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat turn was merely good at rousing the audience, and it's one of the classic audience rousers. The audience, in fact, was reserved throughout the show.

Adelaide was played cartoonishly but still she was good; Sky Masterson sang very well, danced little and was an ok actor; Sara was attractive and sang and acted well. Nicely-Nicely was an embarrassing caricature, beyond a cartoon. Nathan Detroit was played by Gregory Hines [but maybe the director made him do it] as a cross between a tone-downed Cab Calloway from the 1930s and George Jefferson from 1980s television; maybe if you average the 2 decades you get to the 1950s where the play was set.

What was very good were the production numbers like the male chorus numbers and the dance productions: Bushel and a Peck, Take Back your Mink, Crap Shooters' Dance, etc.


The production was done in the round, with the orchestra hidden below the stage; the music wasn't muffled and was performed really well but it lacked physical vibrancy. I have the gut reaction that the Post is going to praise the show highly.

Nicely-Nicely Johnson WAyNE W. PRETLOW
Benny Southstreet LAWRENCE REDMOND
Rusty Charlie MICHAEL W. HOWELL
Agatha LORNA VENTURA
Arvide Abemathy TERRENCE CURRIER
Sarah Brown DIANE SUTHERLAND
Harry the Horse CARLOS LOPEZ
Lt. Brannigan STEPHEN F. SCHMIDT
Nathan Detroit MAURICE HINES
Angie the Ox RyAN BLANCHARD
Miss Adelaide ALEXANDRA FOUCARD
Sky Masterson BRIAN SUTHERLAND
Joey Biltmore MICHAEL W. HOWELL
M.C. RyAN BLANCHARD
Mimi ROSA EVANGELINA ARREDONDO
General Cartwright DONNA MIGLIACCIO
Big Jule RICHARD L. PELZMAN
Drunk P.J. TERRANOVA
Waiter BOBBy PESTKA

Ensemble ROSA EVANGELINA ARREDONDO, RyAN BLANCHARD, MICHAEL J. BOBBITT, CATHy CAREy, JOHANNA GERRy, MICHAEL W. HOWELL, BRUCE LINEBERRy BOBBy PESTKA, LIZA SHALLER, JILL SLyTER,
P.J. TERRANOVA,

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