The new Temple Theatre season has begun and the first show of the season – Guys and Dolls – provides that season opener “WOW” factor that the theatre has become known for! Of course, you can never go wrong with a show at the Temple Theatre, but the first show of each season is generally a show stopper that sets the mood for the entire season (think last year’s incredible production of Chicago) and the last show of each season is another big ticket show that leaves audiences wanting more in eager anticipation of the next season! This year, the opening show is the classic musical Guys and Dolls (Sept 15 – Oct 2) and the closing show will be the super fun cult favorite Little Shop of Horrors (April 26 – May 13) – the perfect bookends for an amazing season of quality entertainment right here in Sanford!
Last night, my friend, Lisa, and I started the evening with a fabulous dinner at Cafe 121. We sat and talked and talked – we had a lot to catch up on, since we hadn’t gotten together since I returned from my Labor Day week trip. Then, we moved on over to the theatre to join the nearly sold out house to see Guys and Dolls. We had a GREAT time enjoying the best that Sanford has to offer – amazing local restaurants and high-caliber cultural art and entertainment.
If you haven’t had a chance to see this show, you need to! The cast is a cohesive ensemble that brings this classic story to life before our very eyes. The stage was full of singing and dancing gamblers and thugs in expensive suits looking for a floating crap game, dolls all decked out for love and to perform for the night club crowd, and Salvation Army soldiers out to save all the sinners in NYC. Nathan Detroit, portrayed by Temple’s resident Michael Brocki, runs the floating crap game, but is having trouble finding a new location because the cops are putting the squeeze on the owners of the usual spots. Nathan has been engaged to the lovely Miss Adelaide, played by our own Peggy Taphorn, for 14 long years. Adelaide is pressuring Nathan to finally stop gambling and marry her. Among the big rollers in town is Sky Masterson, brought to us by Corey Brunish, who loves to dabble in unusual wagers. In an attempt to get the $1000 deposit needed to secure the location he has his eyes on, Nathan tries to engage Sky in a sucker bet that he doesn’t fall for, but does end up wagering the $1000 that Sky can’t get a woman of Nathan’s choosing to go with him to Cuba. Sky, considering himself a lady’s man who can get any woman to do whatever he wants, agrees to the bet, but loses confidence when he finds that the woman Nathan chooses is Sarah Brown (Meredith Betts Smith), the leader of the Salvation Army’s Broadway Save A Soul Mission. The entire cast brilliantly takes us through a fast paced series of musical numbers and scenes detailing the elusive floating crap game, Adelaide’s desire to marry Nathan, and Sky’s relationship evolution with Sarah.
If you’ve seen the Broadway play or the movie starring Frank Sinatra, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the highly recognizable musical numbers, like Fugue for Tinhorns, where Nicely Johnson, Benny Southstreet, and Rusty Charlie argue about which horse to bet on in the next race, The Crapshooter’s Ballet (my personal favorite), where the entire ensemble of gamblers play an entertaining game of craps, and Luck Be A Lady, where Sky Masterson prays that the next roll of his dice wins him the bet he made with the others to go to a prayer meeting so Sarah can save the Mission (or, if he loses, he’ll owe them each $1000), among others.
Everyone did an incredible job and made the show a huge success and an enjoyable evening. But, a few did stand out for me. Of course, whenever Peggy Taphorn takes the Temple stage I am in awe of her talent and genuine love of performing. I also always look forward to seeing Michael Brocki perform – he brings a unique, child-like quality to all his characters that makes him so endearing. I’ve become a huge fan of Corey Brunish, as well – he’s been in several Temple shows, now, and I get excited when I hear he’s coming back. I was captivated by Meredith Betts Smith’s voice – so beautiful! But, the one that I found the most “fun” and memorable was Michael Murray as Harry the Horse!!! What a hoot he was — I found myself searching the stage for him and focusing on his mannerisms!
All in all, a wonderful show! I loved it! Please don’t miss this show – get your tickets now – every performance has been nearly sold out, so you could find yourself missing out if you wait too long. Remaining performances are today at 2:00 – Thursday, Sept 29th at 2:00 and 7:00 – Friday, the 30th at 8:00 – Saturday, Oct 1st at 8:00 – and the final opportunity is Sunday, Oct 2nd at 2:00.