Sunday, February 29, 2004

'Guys and Dolls' takes audience back in time

High school entertainers

Indian Hill High School's production of the musical Guys and Dolls started off with the standard announcements - but in a New York accent.

In this Broadway classic, first staged in 1950, Nathan Detroit runs "the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York." To get the dough he needs to run his next crap shoot, he puts up a bet with the most notorious bettor in town, Sky Masterson. Sky loses his bet but wins Sarah Brown, a pretty girl trying to save all of New York City from sin.

Nathan's girlfriend of 14 years, Miss Adelaide, stars at the Hot Box, where her Chickadees shed their feathers for cheering crowds. With great chemistry, Kate Rowe as Adelaide and Paul Nyhartas Nathan battled it out in a tumultuous duet. Rowe's rapid-fire diction was complemented by Nyhart's gruff complaints and knee-bent apologies. Rowe was a delight to listen to with her perfectly timed sneezes and appropriately nasal voice due to a chronic cold.

Maria Eberle as Sarah Brown and Derek Mueller as Sky Masterson showcased their smooth voices in the lovely duets "I'll Know" and "I've Never Been In Love Before." Although the microphones were erratic, the actors had the vocal power to mask the technical difficulties.

As Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Kevin Boone used broad gestures to create a cartoonish depiction of Nathan's sidekick. He led a group of sinners in a rousing rendition of the gospel song "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat." Boone was backed up by the gamblers, who bounced lines off each other with the ease of pro tennis players.

Scene changes, led by student director Charlie Hirsh, were seamless. Once, a shoe was mistakenly left behind, but one actor faced the audience, sniffed the shoe, and scurried offstage to laughter. Student fight director Casey Merritt did an admirable job choreographing a drunken brawl that erupted in a Cuban restaurant.

-- April Yee, Cincinnati Country Day School


The show began immediately captivating the audience with the beautiful harmonies presented by Matt Schiesl, Kevin Boone, and Brandon Mauldin (Harry the Horse), in their rendition of "Fugue for Tinhorns." These three characters, while all having beautiful voices individually, blended wonderfully together to start to the show.

- Clare Hingsbergen, McAuley High School

As Adelaide, Nathan's perky, whiny, and lovesick fiancee, Kate Rowe engaged the audience with numerous bits of comedy and her talented vocal ability.

- Julie Matthews, Beechwood High School

Paul Nyhart did an excellent job at portraying the sneaky but lovable Detroit, with excellent facial movements. He had good chemistry with Kate Rowe, whose portrayal of Miss Adelaide was the standout of the show.

- Ben Hunt, Mt. Notre Dame High School

Maria Eberle and Derek Mueller worked well together as Sarah and Sky, proving that opposites do attract. Eberle displayed her character's virtue and poise through graceful and reserved gestures, but showed that Sarah could loosen up when, after a few Bacardi drinks, the missionary heated up the dance floor in "Havana."

- Jonathan Bell, St. Xavier High School

The Greater Cincinnati chapter of Cappies, or Critics and Awards Program, is in its third season, with students writing reviews of other high schools' productions. Today, it's Indian Hill's Guys and Dolls. For more information and show schedules, see

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