Saturday, June 4, 2011


The dice are loaded and the odds are 8 to 5 that the current production of Damon Runyon’s colorful musical tale “Guys and Dolls” is a sure bet.  The Connecticut Repertory Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre is doing a super-duper, bang up job until Sunday, June 12 and you’re guaranteed to have a bushel and a peck of pure pleasure.

Sarah Shenkkan’s Sarah Brown, the young woman who runs the Save A Soul Mission in the Bowery of New York is no match for the persuasive powers of Ken Clark’s Sky Masterson.  She is dedicated to her cause to rescue sinners and she has the Lord on her side but Sky’s devilishly charming ways sweep her off her sturdy and sensible oxford clad feet.

Of course, when Sarah learns Sky’s announcement that he is a repentant sinner, a reformed gambler, is all a ruse, a devious plot to win a wager against Nathan Detroit (Greg Webster), all bets are off.  Nathan just wants to win $1000 from Sky to fund his perpetually floating crap game and fool the local constabulary, a dogged Lt. Brannigan (John Bixler) who wants to shut Nathan’s game down permanently.

Also ruling against Nathan is his fiancée of fourteen years, an adorable Miss Adelaide, portrayed by Caitlin O’Brient, who suffers a cold as she deals with her ongoing disappointment that her nuptials are not legalized, consummated and made legitimate.

Songs such as “I’ll Know,” “If I Were a Bell,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Take Back Your Mink,” “More I Cannot Wish You,” (sung sweetly by Sarah’s grandfather, played by David Alan Stern) and “Marry the Man Today” carry the action from the Broadway streets to the bowels of the sewers as Lady Luck lurks in all the dark corners.  Tunes such as “Adelaide’s Lament,” “Sue Me” and Nicely-Nicely’s (Clyde Voce) “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” are worth the price of admission all by themselves.

With lively direction by Vincent J. Cardinal, this Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows classic is a sure fire hit.  Add to that the energetic choreography by Cassie Abate, the amazing set design by Michael Anania, the colorful costuming by Michiko Kitayama-Skinner, the effective lighting by Al Crawford and the dynamic sound by Nathan Leigh, plus a powerful and talented ensemble cast and you couldn’t ask for a better two and a half hours of exciting entertainment.

For tickets ($10-39), call the CT Rep at 860-486-4226 or online at www.  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.  Consider a subscription that includes the additional shows “Seussical the Musical” June 16-26 at the Nafe Katter Theatre and “My Fair Lady” July 7-17 at the Jorgensen.  Kids tickets are $10.

Don’t resist the temptation and surrender to this high powered perfection.  It’s a clear winner!

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