Los Angeles Theater Preview: GUYS & DOLLS (Oregon Shakespeare Festival at the Wallis in Beverly Hills)

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by Frank Arthur on December 2, 2015

in Theater-Los Angeles

ALL DOLLED UP AND READY TO GO, GUYS

It’s a new tradition that I could get used to.

Robin Goodrin Nordli in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

The season of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is practically year-round. Performances begin in Ashland in February and last until late October or early November. That leaves two months for a “breather” before the company heads back into another season. But it’s really just the illusion of a break. Sets are being made, rehearsals are in progress, and tickets are being sold. Many of the actors who appeared in repertory the year before will return for another round of classics, drama, and musicals.

Kate Hurster and Jeremy Peter Johnson in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

For those who have never been to OSF, this formidable, prestigious outfit consistently offers some of the best theater in the country. It’s a shame that more patrons can’t venture to this hamlet near Medford. But now, you lucky Angelinos, OSF is coming to you. The company is able to take a production part and parcel and transfer it to the Wallis in Beverly Hills, where OSF’s lovely production of Into the Woods played last year.

Jonathan Luke Stevens (center) and cast in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

You’re also lucky because I can guarantee before Friday’s opening here in L.A. that Mary Zimmerman’s production of Guys & Dolls, which just closed Nov. 1 in Oregon, is a smash hit. The Wall Street Journal concurred in its review: “Well, hang on to your snap-brim fedora: Ms. Zimmerman’s fetching revival is as good as any production I’ve ever seen of the greatest of all the golden-age musicals.”

Jeremy Peter Johnson, Richard Howard, and Kate Hurster in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

Adapted from Damon Runyon’s stupendous short stories, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows’ 1950 libretto tells of a fly-by-night gambler who attempts to woo a Salvation Army missioner for a $1,000 bet. Meanwhile, a beleaguered showgirl tries to hook her fiancé of 14 years, the founder of “the oldest, established, permanent, floating crap game in New York.”  Frank Loesser’s score includes a bevy of standards, among them “Luck Be a Lady,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Bushel and a Peck,” and one of the greatest 11 o’clock numbers in Broadway history, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”.

Daniel T. Parker and David Kelly in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

But there’s a hitch to this engagement. Many of the amazing actors and crew have to head back to Oregon to start preparing The Wiz and 10 other shows for 2016. That means you only have 24 performances to catch one of the greatest regional theaters doing one of the greatest musicals of all time. To whet your appetite, these are the photos from the Wallis production.

Daniel T. Parker and cast in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

photos by Kevin Parry

Christopher Henry Young, Joe Wegner, Daniel T. Parker (on table), Jonathan Luke Stevens, and David Kelly in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

Guys & Dolls
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production
Bram Goldsmith Theater
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills
ends on December 20, 2015
for tickets, call 310-746-4000 or visit The Wallis

Rodney Gardiner and Robin Goodrin Nordli in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry. Robin Goodrin Nordli stars in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry. Robin Goodrin Nordli and Rodney Gardiner in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry. Kate Hurster and Robin Goodrin Nordli in The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production of GUYS & DOLLS. Photo by Kevin Parry.

 

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