Afternoon Greg: “Guys & Dolls” a terrific triumph for director Richard Jay-Alexander and all-star cast
I’m a day late in posting this but I did not want to miss writing about the production of Guys & Dolls at The Hollywood Bowl which ended its three-night run on Sunday. It was the most fantastic time and major kudos to director Richard Jay-Alexander for putting together a show and a cast that was just magic.
I confess, I’ve never seen the movie or even a single stage production so I went in a total Guys & Dolls virgin. I invited my old Daily News pal Beth Barrett because her birthday was the week before and it was my present to her. She arrived at my house with a picnic basket filled with delicious stuff, I grabbed a bottle of Merlot and off we went.
We got to park in Lot A way down toward Highland so my good mood was heightened because I knew it would be a snap getting out depsite the stacked parking – and it was! We had a terrific box and had plenty of time to enjoy our wine and food before the show began.
The show starred Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ellen Greene, Scott Bakula, Beau Bridges, Ken Page and, most intriguingly, Jessica Biel as Sarah Brown.
Let’s just get this out of the way: can Miss Biel sing? God yeah! You could just feel the ripple of surprise and delight go through the audience as she did her first big number and later held her own just fine opposite the likes of Stokes Mitchell and Greene. And what was even more impressive – and what could give her a big career on Broadway should she choose it – is that she is a terrific actress and you felt like you were watching a character, not just a movie star dabbling on stage.
I read an LA Times review that was less than positive about Miss Greene’s performance as Miss Adelaide and I could not disagree more. I thought she stole the show. This is a woman with enormous talent and charm and even in this outdoor concert setting, she succeeded in making you feel for her character and her plight of not being able to get her fiancee of 14 years, Nathan (Bakula) to finally marry her.
Greene’s big number Adelaide’s Lament was especially wonderful and her comic timing just expert throughout.
As for the guys, no slouches here. As Skye Masterson, Stokes Mitchell was commanding and showed why he has long been one of Broadway’s biggest stars. Bakula may be better known for his TV roles in Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise, but he is a Tony Award-nominated Broadway veteran and a terrific talent.
The leads shined bright and so did the dancers who were choreographed byDonna McKechnie and included the sensational Valarie Pettiford of whom I am a huge fan.
Guys & Dolls is Jay-Alexander’s second straight triumph at The Bowl following last summer’s concert of Les Miserables.
I can’t wait until next summer!