An inevitable part of life is change. People, places, and ideas change. Northgate High School's performance of "Guys and Dolls" demonstrated change as the cast increased in liveliness and enthusiasm as the show progressed. They told the stories of the men and ladies in a straightforward manner in the beginning, but they continued to add energy to this classic, similar to the change of heart of the characters.
"Guys and Dolls" depicts the interactions between men and women. A mission doll, Sarah Brown, tries to save the souls of the sinful residents of New York, and along the way falls for a gambler, Sky Masterson. On the other hand, Hot Box Dancer Miss Adelaide has been engaged to Nathan Detroit for fourteen years, and is eagerly and impatiently waiting for her trip down the aisle.
She loves Nathan, except for his one tragic flaw: his habit of gambling. Both dolls wish for their guys to be different. After finally accepting the fact that their guys never will change, the girls decide to be married. The show happily ends with the guys realizing and correcting their misguided ways, and all living happily ever after.
All night the orchestra, which consisted of both students and adults, played every note spot on and with vigor. It was also very impressive that some 7th and 8th graders played in the orchestra, which was no small challenge. They kept the show going for the entire evening.
With the entrances of Benny Southstreet (Emmanuel Moore), Nicely Nicely Johnson (Jeremy McCawley), and Rusty Charlie (Samuel Driscoll), who are all gamblers, it was apparent that the strength of this show was the singing. Their harmonies in "Fugue for Tinhorns" were flawless.
The acting at the beginning was a little lean with the exception of Leah Dunn as Miss Adelaide. Her first appearance on stage with her husband-to-be Nathan Detroit quickly set her apart from the rest of the cast with her quick-witted lines and perfect facial expressions. The scenes at the Hot Box with Adelaide and her debutants also highlighted her dancing skills. Each movement was made gracefully and with the required amount of attitude. The scene "Take Back Your Mink" especially displayed her talent where she convinced the audience that she did not want mink or pearls.
Lydia Glatz as Sarah Brown also made her character grow, most notably in the Havana, Cuba scene. There, Sarah drinks many drinks too many and gets angry when her date, Sky Masterson, dances with another girl. Lydia really became one with her role as her character became less and less of "Sergeant Sarah Brown." She let her hair down right on cue and accurately portrayed a mission girl who had probably never danced before but made a big debut after too many Dulce de Leches.
The cast as a whole put out more energy during the Havana scene. Maybe it was the Latin-inspired music, the flowing dresses, or the luau decorations, but everyone seemed to be having more fun. This transformation continued during one of the last scenes where the entire cast was on stage in the Save-A-Soul Mission. Jeremy McCawley as Nicely-Nicely led the number "Sit Down, Your Rocking the Boat." As the cast swayed left and then right new ripples of energy seemed to be coming through and everyone really came to life. It reflected the change of heart that some of the gamblers decided to make.
This enthusiasm was really impressive, given the time that the cast had been on stage at this point. "Guys and Dolls" is not a short show, averaging usually around two and a half hours long. This scene happened about two hours into the show. Kaylan Ledbetter's short hymn at the end of the scene really topped it off as she gave a soulful and passionate few notes as General Cartwright.
Northgate's musical provided an enjoyable evening. In fact, I felt like a different person coming out after having witnessed how a musical can be brought to life throughout a period of nearly three hours. It was encouraging to see something change and grow to fulfillment.
The Kelly Critics is a joint program of the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musicals, in which students at Kelly schools review musicals at other Kelly schools. Reviews are edited by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson (email@example.com), a long-time Kelly Awards judge.