I slipped into one of the dress rehearsals for “Guys and Dolls” at the Orange Community Playhouse to check it out. It starts its two week run Thursday at 7:37 p.m.
They have created lighted signs for the backdrop since it is supposed to be on Broadway in New York City. Light strips were used to mimic the neon lights of days gone by. I think it took them up a notch in using technology. They also used their screen to “roll credits” at the start, which was something new. I also appreciated how they were using the screen to convey travel from one country to another. It’s kind of cool how they are starting to incorporate some techniques used only in movies and TV and are adapting them to live theater.
Directed by Thomas May, rehearsals have been ongoing for months. I found it amusing when Barry Foster said the number “Luck be a Lady” was a “real booger” to pull off, because it was my second favorite number of the night. All the hard work putting it together paid off.
My favorite number was the one when Chad Illa-Petersen playing Sky Masterson had taken Sister Sarah Brown, played by Chad’s wife, Leyni Illa-Petersen to Havana and got her drunk. The song and dance number was well done…even though Chad said she has never had a drink in her life. Leyni did all the choreography for the show. They love the opportunity to play opposite each other. There was one point where you could feel the natural chemistry between them, even though most of the show they were on opposing sides, the gambler and the missionary.
The other lead pairing was Jim Crane playing the traveling craps game promoter, Nathan Detroit and his long time showgirl fiancee’, played by Jona Gilchrist. I loved the way she pronounced his name.
The cast of about 15 consisted of gamblers, showgirls, the detective trying to break up the game and the missionaries trying to convert the sinners. Guys and Dolls has lots of singing, dancing and running from the cops.
The show runs a little long. It was about three hours the night I went and they had shaved off about 40 minutes before that. It does have a 15 minute intermission.
The curtain goes up on Guys and Dolls at 7:37 p.m. March 23-25, 30-31 and April 1. There will be a 2:37 p.m. matinee March 26 and April 2. Tickets can be purchased online at orangecommunityplayers.com or call 409-882-9137 and leave a message with your name, how many tickets you need and what night you plan to attend. The theater is located at 708 W. Division Ave., Orange, TX 77630. Go check out Guys and Dolls and support community theater.