Archbold Community Theatre has another winner in its summertime production of “Guys and Dolls.”
There’s outstanding acting and really great singing. It’s far more than one would expect from a “community theatre,” and perhaps even above the high standard set by ACT.
While some literature says the show is set in 1930s-40s New York City, there’s a reference to television, which didn’t really start developing until after World War II ended in 1945, and a song reference to 1948.
The show really revolves around four main characters: gamblers Sky Masterson, played by Archbold’s own Garrett Leininger, and Nathan Detroit, played by Kyle Slagley, Bowling Green.
The other two are their love interests: Miss Adelaide, played by Nicole Spadafore, Waterville, and Sister Sarah Brown, played by Sarah Horner, Napoleon.
Leininger, Spadafore, and Horner got their start as children on the ACT stage.
Masterson, a gambler’s gambler, is conned by Detroit into a bet that he can’t make a date with Sister Sarah Brown of the Salvation Army.
Meanwhile, Detroit is trying to hold together his 14- year engagement to Miss Adelaide, and find a place to hold his floating crap game.
Leininger shows off his acting chops, making Masterson a smooth customer.
Leininger is confident and comfortable on stage. His singing voice is just as smooth and refined.
Of course, as a vocal music teacher, he certainly has the credentials to do the job.
Spadafore’s Adelaide is a delight. She does the show with a classic “New Yawk” accent, including singing in character.
She’s bold and brash, and fun to watch.
A high school choir director, she too has the credentials.
Horner does an excellent job with Sister Sarah, the straight-laced Salvation Army sergeant.
A recent college graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education, she placed in the professional category of a national opera singing competition.
She shows off those talents with her singing, while still giving life to her role.
Slagley is just a smooth as Leininger on stage; the two play off each other well.
Another actor of note is Adam Steider, Archbold, as “Big Jule,” a gun-toting, big-time gambler from Chicago.
Steider makes his Big Jule a real tough guy.
Note to prop department: try to get Big Jule a revolver and proper leather holster. The modern automatic and nylon holster he carries is out of character.
By the way, how many backs of how many closets did wardrobe need dig through to find the colorful sports coats?
Some of them haven’t been in style since the first Nixon administration!
It takes a while for the show to get rolling, but stick with it.
Once they get into the story, it will hold your attention.
While there is color, music, and action on stage, “Guys and Dolls” is probably best for grownups, and perhaps older youngsters.
In the past, this writer has criticized sound, particularly on the AHS stage.
ACT officials have said amplified sound is one of the hardest things to do in live theatre.
There was one instance of bad wireless microphones that popped, cracked, and picked up the sound of the actor’s clothes rustling.
The actors kept right on going, not upset by the unwanted noise.
Nonetheless, when wireless mikes go bad, it’s grating.
Whether ACT technicians fixed the problem or it just quit on its own, things were fine for the rest of the show, including all of the second act.
“Guys and Dolls” is a fun show, done exceedingly well by the ACT cast; it’s doubtful any professional cast would be better.
It’s an evening of fine entertainment at any price.
There are three more chances to see “Guys and Dolls” on the AHS stage: Friday and Saturday, July 18- 19, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, July 20, at 2:30 pm.–David Pugh