'A doll's a necessity!" proclaims gambler Nathan Detroit. "Without a doll, who's gonna holler at you?"
Necessity or not, Nathan is not exactly rushing to marry his doll. The long-suffering Miss Adelaide has been waiting 14 years for Nathan to change his ways and put a ring on her finger. As Nathan and Adelaide, Edmund Pfleegor and Jena Miller bicker and bemoan, wheedle and wail - and together they steal the show in Baldwin High School's production of "Guys and Dolls."
The two are among the show's 12 seniors - the first graduating class of director Linda Carnevale. To showcase their talents, Carnevale chose an ambitious musical with a cast of 40 students onstage and a dozen more working backstage (including senior Nicole Joslin as production manager), plus a live orchestra featuring students, alumni and community members. "Guys and Dolls" opened Friday at Baldwin Auditorium.
RAY MAINS photo
Baldwin High School’s talented “Guys and Dolls” cast features Sydney Laughlin (from left), Thomas Carbajal, Jena Miller, Edmund Pfleegor, Monica Badois and Jesie Rocetes.
The curtain rises on a larger-than-life set (created by the students and Jim Hernandez, with artwork by Caro Walker) depicting Broadway in the 1950s, bustling with stands selling newspapers, flowers, hot dogs and pretzels against a New York City skyline. Adding to the hubbub is a vivid contingent of well-dressed "guys" and "dolls," coming and going in organized chaos.
They are the characters of "Runyonland," so named after author Damon Runyon's colorful stories of gamblers and gangsters. With book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, "Guys and Dolls" is based on Runyon's short story "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" about a feisty missionary worker who is wooed by a notoriously suave gambler.
Senior Cayla Sigrah plays a convincing Sarah Brown with a voice beyond her years, exhorting the sinners of "the devil's own city" to "Follow the Fold." Her suitor is Sky Masterson, played by senior Trevor Komatsu, classy and smooth in well-tailored dark suits with shiny ties. When Nathan Detroit, in need of cash to secure a location for his ongoing crap game, bets Sky that he can't get "the missionary doll" to go with him to Havana, the fun begins.
* Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $6 for students (17 and under); available at the door 45 minutes before showtime or through any cast member. For more information, call 984-5656, ext. 315.
Actually, the fun really begins in the first scene when the other talented Komatsus - Chris Komatsu as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, and Kenny Komatsu as Benny Southstreet - brandish their newspapers with Harry the Horse (Jesie Rocetes) in "Fugue for Tinhorns," shouting, "I got the horse right here!" They've got the New York accent down, with all its accompanying flourishes and mannerisms.
The jocular atmosphere is accentuated with colorful costumes by Miller and Kalee Peterson -like Nathan's attire of red jacket over blue shirt with yellow bowtie and purple pants. Yet he still manages to look desirable to his adoring Adelaide. She is delightful in an array of modish dresses and costumes for her gigs at the Hot Box Club. But her best moments are in "Adelaide's Lament," when swathed in a feather-trimmed robe, she pitifully recites symptoms that "a person can develop" when forced to remain single.
Choreography by Andre Morissette pops in numbers like "Havana Dance," where guys in bright shirts and straw hats, and dolls in head scarves and swirling skirts create a moving sea of energy that makes you want to jump out of your seat and join in. "The Crapshooter's Dance" is another exciting medley of movement as guys in suspenders roll and slide while keeping an anxious eye on the dice - and on Chicago gangster Big Jule (Thomas Carbajal). Dark green lighting by Tyler Rollins gives the crap game in the sewer an underground feel.
The singing in some of the ensemble numbers seemed a bit muted on opening night, and there was a little mike trouble. But the hard work of musical director Marti Kluth pays off in the solos as Trevor Komatsu commands the stage in "Luck Be a Lady," and senior Kamalei Lono does a lovely job as missionary Arvina Abernathy singing "More I Cannot Wish You." The orchestra directed by Stephen Rodrigues is a wonderful addition to an impressive performance by "the first of the Carnevale's."