Guys and Dolls – Huron Country Playhouse, 2011

Written on August 21st, 2011

Guys and Dolls


Written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Directed & Choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld
Associate Choreographer Joe Bowerman
Musical direction by Steve Thomas
Performed by Jackie Mustakas, Eddie Glen, Mairi Babb, Paul McQuillan and company
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend
August 21 to September 3, 2011
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Saints and Sinners Singing from the Same Hymn Book

The 40th anniversary season at Huron Country Playhouse has been celebrated with big time musicals – the season opened with energy of Hairspray, followed by the tragedy of Blood Brothers, and the comedy of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Now they are wrapping up with a big Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls. This large-scale production with a cast of 22, including amazing dance numbers, sing-able songs, and hilarious lines is not to be missed.

Guys and Dolls opened Sunday, August 21 with a lively cast, energetically singing and dancing their way through this old favourite. First premiering on Broadway in 1950, Guys and Dolls tells the story of the clash between the Save-Our-Soul Mission, which is a Salvation Army-like group, and tough-guy gamblers involved in an illegal floating crap game.

Eddie Glen steals the stage as Nathan Detroit, the likeable organizer of New York’s longest running floating crap game. Glen’s comedic timing is spot on and he possesses a charismatic stage presence. He has the gangster voice pattern down pat. Even though Nathan Detroit is an illegal gambler who won’t marry his sweet girlfriend, we love him all the same, and Glen plays the lovable rogue very well.

His girlfriend, Adelaide, is a Broadway showgirl, played hilariously by Jackie Mustakas. Mustakas has the New York accent down pat, and sings in it, too. Adelaide and Nathan have been engaged for 14 years, and Mustakas takes full advantage of humour created by her desire to give up being a Broadway dancer to become a housewife with a picket fence. Glen and Mustakas are delightful together, each building on the other’s comedic talents. Both are laugh-out-loud funny.

Mairi Babb is the prim and proper Sarah Brown, who creates comedy when she imbibes in a little too much Bacardi. Paul McQuillan plays Sky Masterson, the gambler who bets on his ability to attract women. They meet when Masterson has to entice her to travel to Cuba with him to win his bet. And even though they come from two different worlds, they eventually fall in love. The pair sing beautifully together in My Time of Day/I’ve Never Been in Love Before.

The chorus numbers are exceptional, in particular, all the gamblers dancing around while throwing the dice in The Crapshooters Dance. This group of young man tear up the stage with unbelievable energy. Kudos to Stephen Roberts for his many acrobatics and amazing dance that make him a standout in this number. It’s followed by McQuillan as Sky singing the familiar “Luck be a Lady Tonight”, made famous by Frank Sinatra in the movie version.

Mustakas as Adelaide, along with the Hotbox Girls, dance their way across the stage after removing their mink stoles and ball gowns, to reveal lacy showgirl costumes, in ‘Take Back your Mink”. Again the energy is amazing.

Another favourite scene is when all the gamblers finally go to the Mission to repent of their sins. They sing the gospel number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat”. Allan Gillespie as Nicely-Nicely has a great solo as he testifies.

William Fisher as Sarah’s grandfather sings the heart-warming “More I cannot wish you”, and Jill Diane Fillion is the strict Mission General who loosens up with some dancing in the pews. Her hip-swinging, despite the confining Mission uniform, is an audience favourite.

Michel LeFleche is excellent as the thug Harry the Horse: he handles the cadence of the gangster language perfectly. The visiting gambler from Chicago is Big Jule played well by David Silvestri. James Kall is excellent as Lieutenant Brannigan, the nemesis of the gamblers. The rest of the cast, Carla Bennett, Melanie McInenly, Todd Noel, Mike Tracz, Sarah Matton, Duff MacDonald, Ray Hogg, Kimberley Rampersad, Jacques Monfiston, Galen Johnson, and Chad McFadden are an excellent ensemble of singers and dancers.

Costumes are bright and colourful – all the gamblers are dressed in pin stripe suits, in many different hues. The women are attired in interesting dresses appropriate to the 1940s, while the Mission folks have very realistic Salvation Army hats and capes. Hairstyles are pure 1940s. The cast is commended for quick costume changes.

Set designers created a seedy Broadway street scene, including the Mission and even New York sewers.

Credit goes to Director/Choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and Associate Director Joe Bowerman for keeping the show lively and funny, and not letting it show its age. Lichtefeld has directed several Broadway productions and spent nine seasons at the Stratford Festival. His solid experience shows in this polished production.

Guys and Dolls continues with eight shows a week until September 3 at Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend. Tickets are available at 1-888-449-4463, or check out

One Response to “Guys and Dolls – Huron Country Playhouse, 2011” | Add Your Thoughts

  1. Hello Mary!
    I have to agree much more with your review than the one in the Free Press today, Aug. 21. I’m wondering if you should consider challenging them to print YOUR review, as a counter to Kathy Rumleski’s! Just a thought… I’d hate to think that people may shy away from such a great show because of one reviewer.

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