Rolling the Hard Six

Powered by an amazing performance from the production’s four stars and a stellar supporting cast, the Genesis Repertory’s run of “Guys and Dolls” proved that this company is deadly serious about bringing high quality theatre to the Brooklyn area.

Funny, charming and performed with precision, you’ll completely forget that the play takes place in a makeshift children’s auditorium at the Block Institute in Brooklyn. Fueled by the excellent live musical performances of Eric K. Johnston and his band, the production had a huge feel, in spite of a smaller cast and less attention paid to the set.

That’s mainly because Director Jay Michaels, Choreographer Dustin Cross and Johnston get theatre. They understand that the dancing, music and performances mean more than the set and extraneous bells and whistles. At its heart, “Guys and Dolls” is all about four people, in four completely different places, that ultimately need and deserve love much more than they thought. Regardless of the lack of spectacle, Michaels and company piece together a production brimming with emotion that does nothing short of induce laughs and smiles throughout, with no bumps, calluses or bruises along the way.

All in all, the production was smooth.

Its silky texture has everything to do with John Stillwaggon’s portrayal of Sky Masterson, a gambler who has a bigger heart than he ever imagined. Stillwaggon’s skill is undeniable in this role and his charisma nearly drips off the stage and onto the crowd. The same thing goes for Kelly Petlin’s portrayal of Lady Adelaide. Combining the sultry of Betty Boop with the adorably dumb-witted and loving persona of Edith Bunker, Petlin, with her curly red locks and booming smile, steals your heart. Carolyn Dellinger, too is absolutely beautiful and talented. With her great voice and ability to emote, she has a bright future ahead of her.

However, while these three are essential to the overall success of the performance, the chemistry between Nathan and his cronies is undeniable. Michael Whelan’s portrayal of Nathan was a throwback to the type of Broadway that mystified audiences 50 years ago, but was fresh and fun enough to entertain a modern crowd. Jay Paranada and TJ D’Angelo were hilarious as Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet and were more than secondary players- they were the comic relief.

Every time D’Angelo made a face or Paranada took a bite of a carrot, the entire crowd emitted a laugh from the deepest regions of their bellies.

Nevertheless, this performance had more than two or three players in the supporting cast with skill. The comedic stylings of Romo Hallahan, Dominic Kidwell and Robert Aloi helped keep the pace strong and the laughs continuous. The superb backup vocals of Lee Saulter, Cynthia Granville and Denise A. Sosa filled the auditorium. The dancing of Jeff Van Damme, Nora Moutrane, Timothy Ng and the rest of the Crap Shooters and Hot Box girls was solid and provided the extra level of entertainment any strong theatrical performance is expected to provide.

Lastly, the makeup, arranged by Mary Elizabeth MiCari, did a more than sound job of representing the era. As said before, for an hour or two, you felt as if you were in a time machine. That had a lot to do with the way the characters looked. The women had just the right amount of blush and lipstick on and the men weren’t caked with foundation or anything else that could have robbed the production of its authenticity.

Overall, with so many solid performances and contributions from so many different people, the Genesis Repertory’s production of “Guys and Dolls” is sure-fire hit and an undeniably success.

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12447 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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