REVIEW: Carnegie’s “Guys and Dolls”

You will love Guys & Dolls more than just a bushel and a peck. The Carnegie’s production of the golden age classic is amazing. Truly a must-see. Everything from the singing, the dancing, the music, and the humor delights your senses.

By Sherri Ogden Wellington

You will love The Carnegie’s Guys and Dolls more than just a bushel and a peck. This production of the golden age classic is amazing. Truly a must-see. Everything from the singing, the dancing, the music, and the humor delights your senses. Set in the beautiful Carnegie Theatre only blocks away from fabulous restaurants and bars in downtown Covington, this play makes the beginning or ending (depending on your age!) of your evening memorable.

The Story

Most know the storyline of Guys and Dolls.  The play centers around gamblers and show girls in New York City during the late 1940’s.  Nathan Detroit (Christopher Wells) and Sky Masterson (Jackson Reagin) are two well known characters among the gamblers.  Both fall in love and struggle to make a commitment to their women,  Miss Adelaide  (Annalese Fusaro) and Sarah Brown (Gracie Parker) respectively.  Ah love!

Some Background Info

Guys and Dolls was based upon two short stories written by Damon Runyon.  Jo Sterling and Abe Burrows wrote the book/play. Frank Loesser wrote the music and lyrics. The play was first performed on Broadway in 1950, and won five Tony Awards in 1951, including Best Musical. The 1992 revival also pulled in awards.

The Curtain Rises on The Carnegie’s Guys and Dolls

Tyler Gabbard, the Producer and Scenic & Prop Designer welcomes you to the theatre. Then it happens.  Forget your reality and the outside world.  Transformation takes place.  A dozen or more people are on stage with only props, gestures and actions to set the stage so you understand what is going on in this world.  Then Nicely Nicely Johnson (Aaron Marshall), Benny Southstreet (Montex O. Jenkins Copeland, and Rusty Charlie (Anderson Rothwell) sing!  Wow!  What voices! 

Then another shock occurs.The Missionary Band marches on stage whereupon Sarah Brown (Gracie Parker) and Arvide Abernathy (Dain Paige) sing!  Parker’s voice sounds like a classically trained soprano.  You can’t help but be mesmerized.  So far so good but when Miss Adelaide (Annalese Fusaro) with her Hot Box Girls come out and sing “A Bushel and a Peck”, one is in disbelief how seriously beautiful Fusaro’s voice is!  One can’t deny the fact that the Wig Designer (Candace Leylan) and Wardrobe Manager (Codi Rasor) know how to make outfits so perfect for a number.  Their outfits with a big bow on their bottoms are adorable.

More Amazing Performances

When you think you have heard enough shockingly good voices then Sky Masterson (Reagin) belts out “My Time of Day” then goes on to “I’ve Never Been in Love Before”.  Not one actor has a weak voice in this play.  In fact, everyone’s voice is  alive and astounding!  Going into intermission, one has to question whether they are on Broadway or in Covington.  I suppose Covington, but one is definitely getting the same entertainment value for a lot less money!

Agatha (Maddie Osment), Martha (Caroline Bowman), Mimi (Eliza Levy), Hot Box Girl (Monique Churchill), Calvin (Matthew Dansforth), Harry the Horse (Tomi Newmn), Angie the Ox, Hot Box Emcee (Andres Martinez), General Matilda B. Cartwright (Julia Schick) and Lt. Brannigan, Havana Waiter (Ethan Kuchta) are all talented souls with singing and dancing skills (thanks to Director & Choreographer, Eric Burd).

Production Team

Music Director is Steve Goers with Craissa Gandenberger, Production Stage Manager, to make the play a sensation. Thanks to  Avery Reynolds (Sound Designer) for answering all the questions thrown at you (some of us are curious how all of this magic happened).  You, along with Music Operator, (Michael Hamburg) made the music sound like an orchestra was below the stage. The technical skills you have!  

The stage is impressive.  There are large lights of various shapes with a platform for actors to be above the stage to illuminate a concept or idea. For example, both Reagin and Wells are on the platform under Parker and Fusaro while they ladies sing about how they envision their men after marrying them. A get away hole in the flooring of the stage is another fun aspect of the stage.  Props are simple and easily moved to make the transition of scenes effortless.  Lighting Designer, Alaina Pizzoferrato, and Assistant Lighting Designer, Electrician, Ashton Karp, make the stage come alive.

Guys and Dolls
Hot Box Dancers in Guys and Dolls at the Carnegie

On a last note, one must admit that the costumes are authentic looking and with so many actors, the Wardrobe Manager, Codi Rasor, must be extremely busy.  The various looks from Big Jule (Spencer Stanley), a real gangster to Lt. Brannigan (Ethan Kuchta), a cop, Sarah Brown (Gracie Parker) a Salvation Army type of missionary, to Miss Adelaide (Annalese Fusaro),  Rasor has her hands full.  Well done!

Get your Tickets to Carnegie’s Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls will last 2 ½ hours with a 15 minute intermission.  It is playing from July 29 to August 18, 2023, in rotation with Kinky Boots and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. The following is the schedule for Guys and Dolls:

  • Sunday                  7/30/23                  3:00 pm
  • Friday & Saturday 8/4/23 & 8/5/23      7:30 pm
  • Saturday                8/12/23                  7:30 pm  
  • Sunday                  8/13/23                  3:00 pm
  • Friday & Saturday 8/17/23 & 8/18/23  7:30 pm

Go to this wonderfully delightful play and have a blast! Contact the Box office today. Call 859-957-1940 or CLICK HERE.

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