Sunday, April 01, 2007

Review: "Guys and Dolls" at Indianapolis

Name 50-year-old Broadway shows that are actively in production around the country today.
Go ahead. I'll wait.
Time's up.
There is "Sound of Music" and "Guys and Dolls" and -- what?
Certainly "Guys and Dolls" would have to come in near the top of your list. One reason is the crisp writing inspired by O. Henry's stories of the guys and dolls that populated New York City of his day. Back when cops spent their time breaking up illegal gambling and teen gangs and drugs were still largely a thing of the future.
Linda and I met our friends Mr. and Mrs. George Begonis of the Crawfordsville Begonises for dinner and to see "Guys and Dolls" at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, just off Michigan Road near The Pyramids in Indianapolis Saturday night.
George has a morning radio show and was reviewing the show for his audience Monday. He and Mrs. Begonis will go on the radio and chat about the musical.
George has played Big Jule in "Guys and Dolls" on many occasions. He has even had his own dice with no spots made.
Big Jule tells the Guys he memorized where the spots were "for good luck" and sonofagun if he doesn't win time after time while throwing his unmarked dice.
The cast, led by Tony Lawson and Sky Masterson and Eddie Curry as Nathan Detroit does a fine job, as one would expect from an Indianapolis professional cast.
To be honest, we liked the Brazil production, performed a few months ago at the Lark Theatre, in two respects: the actress playing Miss Adelaide did a more credible job of portraying the heartbreak of a girl who has been engaged 14 years and the number, "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" was definitely sang with more vigor in the Brazil production. That is a compliment to the Brazil company, not meant as criticism of the Indianapolis troupe.
But, the bigger budget of the Beef & Boards bunch certainly meant a more professional looking set and costumes. Although this review did not start out to be a comparison of the two productions, the Beef & Boards company is larger as well.
George and I disagreed on one bit used by Beef & Boards. A toy airplane was propelled along the top edge of the proscenium to indicate a chage of lcoation from NYC to Havana. When the plane flew the right direction, it was a cute gimmick that drew laughs, but I thought the plane flying backward to indicate Sky and Sarah were flying back from Havana to NYC was a bit much. But, George liked it, so it just goes to show that reviewers and weathercasters can both keep their jobs, even when they disagree.
I think all four at our table would recommend seeing "Guys and Dolls" at Beef & Boards.
The cast also includes Krista Severeid, Ali Martin, Larry Whalen, Jon Lambert, Ran Burns, Cindy Collins, Adam Chandler, Jeff Diebold, Daniel Scarbrough, Doug King, Eric Karwisch, Miki Berg, Heide VanSlambrook and Jennifer Ladner.
The house orchestra was undoubtedly in the finest form we've heard in a few years: Debbie Myers, Ernie Coleson, David Coleson, Tim Kelly and Kristy Templet.
The production continues through May 13.Call the box office, (317) 872-9664 for more information or to order tickets.
One other thing -- Mrs. Begonis echoed my thought: the ice cream used to make the ice cream sundaes is out of this world. Maybe they should change the name from Beef & Boards to Ice Cream a go go! Or not.
The weather is nice these days -- we are apparently beyond the snows of winter -- so the drive to Indy's north side isn't bad at all. Do yourself a favor; see the show and then drive home singing.

You should also know:

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will be at Beef & Boards April 30. Tickets cost $28-$39 including buffet and concert.
This band was formed in 1956 with the authorization of the Miller Estate in response to strong popular demand following the release of "The Glenn Miller Story" starring James Stewart and June Allyson.
This will be a concert and dance.
Call (317) 872-9664.