The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Guys and Dolls
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show August 22 - October 4, 2015
Reviewer Gerry Camp
Review Why does Folsom’s Sutter Street Theatre consistently rate Number One out of the more than 60 theatrical companies in media surveys of “best of the best” competitions? For me part of the answer is their audacity in every year mounting a huge cast classic Broadway musical on their tiny stage, and consistently pulling off the impossible with class and style. This year’s production of Guys and Dolls may be their best ever.

The story, as any musical lover knows, is that of the coming together of two worlds—Damon Runyon’s underworld gamblers, who live only for the next crap game, and the revivalists of the Save-A-Soul Mission. Nathan Detroit, (the always outstanding Michael Coleman), who operates the “Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York,” needs a place to hold his big game but must come up with a $1000 deposit. To get the cash, he makes a bet with gambler Sky Masterson (Sutter Street newcomer Michael Sicilia), who will bet on anything. The bet? That Sky will be unable to take the Mission’s Sarah Brown (Lauren Ettensohn) on a date in Havana, Cuba.

Guys and Dolls is an unusual musical in that Frank Loesser’s unforgettable songs were composed for a show that had to be abandoned, and writers Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows were hired to write a story to go with the already existing songs.

What makes this production stand out is the superb cast. Sicilia’s Sky Masterson has a wonderful voice, and his duets with Ettensohn’s Sarah are lovely as is his “My Time of Day” and her “If I Were a Bell.” The real show-stealers, for me, are the comic characters Nicely Nicely Johnson, Rick Kleber, and Alison Gilbreth as Nathan Detroit’s fiancée of fourteen years, Miss Adelaide, star of the Hot Box nightclub.

Kleber, who has extensive movie and television credits and years of local theatre, steals the stage whenever he is on. His “testimony” at the Mission, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” rocks the house. Gilbreth is consistently hilarious. Singing and speaking in a squeaky voice, she charms the audience with “Adelaide’s Lament,” in which explains that she has read that spending fourteen years waiting to get married, “a person could develop a cold.”

In addition to the excellent cast, credit for this amazing show must go principally to director Connie Mockenhaupt, who moves her cast of twenty around Sutter Street’s small stage, making one forget it’s not really Broadway. Creating this illusion, Mockenhaupt is assisted by Sutter Street’s great assets, choreographer Dian Hoel, whose dance numbers astonish, and accompanist John Wilder, whose keyboard work fills the house like a full orchestra. Costumes by Eileen Beaver and set by Mike Jimena are perfect.

Bottom line: you won’t see a Broadway musical this well done on any other community theatre stage in the Sacramento area. Sutter Street earns its Number One rating by pulling out all the stops and daring to do all it takes to live up to its motto, “the art is in the entertainment.”

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