Granted there are a few music stands and books-in-hand, and no set, per se — but there are background projections of period scenes and most of the show is memorized and costumed (Abby Villarreal) It’s all up-close-and-personal in an in-the-round setting at First Christian Church. There is also a real, mini orchestra of six, led by Music Director Kait Wilson, on keyboard.
Admittedly “new” director, Nicole Martin, is only new to directing. She is a theatre veteran who brought imagination, pace and style to this format, with just enough choreography and blocking to bring the nostalgia, humor and romance of this Frank Loesser classic to life. Narrator Matt Ottinger added clever, scene-setting interjections with his signature, wry congeniality.
Kelly Sandula Gruner and Dan Templin are a proven musical duo known for their stylish Clique Vocals shows. They slip smoothly into the prim but smitten Sarah Brown and the incorrigible/redeemable bad-boy Sky Masterson. Josh Martin charms as Nathan Detroit, the challenged organizer of “the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York,” a perfect foil for his fiancée of 14 years, Hot Box dancer Miss Adelaide (Rachel Mender). Rachel brings a delightful enthusiasm to my favorite “Adelaide’s Lament” and more.
“Fugue for Tinhorns” opens the show with a stellar trio: Matt Eldred, Ben Cassidy and Elijah Burton, and general musical excellence flows from there. Matt Eldred’s “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat really raises the roof. Smaller roles I particularly enjoyed were Gordon Hicks’ feisty but frustrated Lieutenant Brannigan, David Sincox’s endearing Arvide Abernathy, and Lee Helder’s commanding General Cartwright, boss lady of the mission system.
Yes, Starlight is still a DINNER theatre, even in it’s different performing locations. The rosemary chicken and fixings were tasty, just down the hall from the church sanctuary, where there is general seating in the pews. Of course, no masks when eating, but masks ARE required for all audience members throughout the show. Guys and Dolls continues February 19 and 25-27.
Location: First Christian Church, 1001 Chester Rd. This is northwest of Frandor, just northwest of the Sparrow medical building.
Friday and Saturday shows: Box office opens at 6 p.m., dining opens at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday matinee: Box office opens at 1 p.m., dessert and beverages served at 1:30 p.m., show starts at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices: Show & dinner $40 regular adult; $37 seniors (62 +) and students (age 13-22); $23 children (age 12 and under).
Show-only prices: $22 regular adult; $20 seniors (62 +) and students (age 13-22); $13 children (age 12 & under).
Sunday matinee with dessert: $27 adults, seniors (62 +) and students (age 13- 22), $18 children (age 12 and under).
HEARING ASSISTED DEVICES are available and must be requested when making your reservation
For reservations and more info call 517-599-2779 or visit the website at http://starlightdinnertheatre.com