by David Golden
It won't be a crap shoot if you attend Theatre 7's current production of "Guys and Dolls," although you will see numerous crap shoots on stage.
Directed by Jerry Johnson, the production is a tight, enjoyable evening of community theater.
Closing night will bring a well-deserved rest for Johnson, who also designed the scenery and was co-producer with Mike Redlinger (who did double-duty portraying Nathan Detroit).
The yeoman's effort exerted by Theatre 7's dedicated volunteers must be applauded because they contribute fine entertainment, enriching the quality of life in Central Illinois.
This perennial Damon Runyon classic, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo swerling and Abe Burrows, is a delightful piece. Popular songs from this musical include "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat." As usual with Theatre 7 productions, the music and singing is quite good, with strong singing and fine pit lead by Jason Yarcho.
Cayla Hugo was the choreographer, and her work was nicely done and very reachable for this cast. The dancers had only one or two mishaps. Josh Streeter (the dance captain) stood out as a fine dancer.
Redlinger, a veteran Decatur performer, did a very nice job with his portrayal of Nathan Detroit, adding a bit of endearing bumbling to his characterization. Dena Sexton as Adelaide, did an outstanding job doing both character singing and playing the Runyonesque role of perky, but dumb chlorine. Redlinger and Sexton seemed to have good chemistry and timing.
Brad Barding added sensitivity to the bon vivant role of Sky Masterson. Tiffany Topol was properly unctuous Sarah Brown with a sizzling passionate side belying her outwardly moral self. Both sang very well.
I continue to see Matt Tucker as an up-and-coming talent with Theatre 7. His stylized portrayal of Big Jule, the Chicago gambler, often had the audience laughing before he could get the line out.
A talented chorus composed primarily, I believe, of Millikin University students added depth to the performance and enhanced the quality of the production.
The scenery was a a shadowed projection of New York on a scrim with a number of wagons that moved on and off stage with relative ease making the show flow well.
If you enjoy Damon Runyon and want a warm evening filled with fine singing, go see this fine community theater production.