By Jody Tuso-Key — Managing Editor — Photo Credit: Robert Mitchel Owenby
August to me feels like the start of the year. School begins, as do new theater seasons. This August for me has been an incredible start to the year not only because the Atlanta theater season is filled with so many great shows, but I’ve been able to see some of the best talent in the ATL on stage.
While Guys and Dolls is a show I know by heart, I never get tired of seeing it. It’s a show that has come around for me twice in the past 7 years. I saw it performed for the first time at Gainesville Theatre Alliance, having seen it 3 times (I love attending preview, opening, and closing nights of a show). It came around again for me in 2015-2016 as stage manager of Play on Players Children’s Theatre when we performed the junior version as our Junior Theater Festival adjudication show and also as a full show. To see the Lyric perform this classic with some of my dear friends and Atlanta favorites in the lead roles was a real treat!
the Lyric’s GUYS AND DOLLS is a colorful and vivacious rendition of the Broadway favorite, and adds new flair to this classic musical. With lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, G&D premiered on Broadway in 1950, where it ran for 1200 performances and received a Tony award for best musical. A 1955 film adaptation starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons as well as Stubby Kaye and Vivian Blaine who also starred in the Broadway production. G&D has been revived numerous times, in NYC, London, and worldwide.
Lyric’s GUYS AND DOLLS is a fun accomplishment from the technical aspect. The set and costumes are colorful and reminiscent of a DICK TRACY comic book. Bravo to the tech crew as the intricate set transitions were smooth and flawless, as was the lighting. The creative team of Kayce Grogan Wallace (director), John MIchael D’Haviland (music director), and Veronica Silk (choreographer) have much to be proud of as everything appears to go off without a hitch, which is commendable for an opening night performance.
Moving on to the cast, and here’s where I get a bit emotional. Three of the leading players, Marcello Audino (Skye Masterson), Chloe Cordle (Miss Adelaide) and Jaymyria Etienne (Sarah Brown) are all products of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and dear friends. Each performance from these three was delightful. We’ve seen all three on the Lyric stage before, and it’s a treat to see them again. Marcello as Skye brings all the suave charm to the role and his good looks and smooth as silk voice are an enjoyable bonus. Chole’s Adelaide showcases her amazing triple threat as she acts, sings, and dances with perfection. I’m especially proud of Jaymeria’s performance as Sarah Brown. I’ve known Jaymeria for over a decade since she graced the Johnson High School stage along with my own children and consider her a daughter from another mother. To see her perform the iconic Sara Brown and hear her beautiful voice in its high register was pure bliss. The chemistry between her and Marcello is natural, as they’ve been colleagues for many years beginning with SHE LOVES ME at GTA.
Other Key-noteworthy perfomances include Juan Carlos Unzueta (Nathan Detroit), LaMont Hill (Benny Southstreet) and Blake Fountain (Big Jule). The entire cast executed the show with vivacious vocals and dynamic dancing.
GUYS AND DOLLS runs at Atlanta Lyric Theare until September 4th, so hurry and get your tickets at https://atlantalyrictheatre.com/shows/guys-and-dolls/. It’s a show you don’t want to miss!!