A packed theater buzzed on the opening night of Guys and Dolls presented by The Department of Theater at Columbus State University last Friday night. From the first note of the overture to the final curtain call, it was a pure delight.
With an orchestra led by Paul Hostetter and made up of Schwob School of Music students, the professionalism of the players and the score set the tone for what proved to be a high quality piece of theater that was worth far more than the price of admission.
The story opens on the streets of New York and the set design makes you feel as if you are sitting on Broadway. Minimalistic, colorful, consistent, and sharp, the scenic design team, lead by Tim McGraw, created a set akin to what you would see in regional theaters and professional tours across the country. With a tech crew that moved seamlessly from scene to scene, the set design played an integral part in telling the story without stealing the show.
Senior Zamar Malik and Sophomore Tyler Biehl portray the time-tested “Abbott and Costello” duo, playing well off each other and lighting the mood as Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet. Their comedic timing played well on stage and they helped to move the story along without over playing the roles. The time period lends itself to their vaudeville-esque routines. Malik’s rendition of “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” was delightful, familiar, and skilfully delivered.
Riverside Theatre. | Image courtesy of Columbus State University.
Seniors Katherine Ambrester and Ethan Hall played sweet and convincing love interests with Hall’s bad-boy “Sky Masterson” persona playing well against Ms. Ambrestor’s sheltered and sweet “Sarah Brown”. Their voices were meant to be sung together. Their love story was sweet without being sappy and you felt the need to cheer for their successes, while despairing over their lovers quarrel. They are relatable, fresh, and sincere in their parts.
Junior Jake Waterford shows us a lovable version of Nathan Detroit and his shining moment was “Sue Me” sung to his love interest, Miss Adelaide.
However, it was Public Relations and Communications major, Senior Victoria Nicholson, that stole the show. Her portrayal of Miss Adelaide, from her voice and physical choices to the sincerity in her commitment to her character, Nicholson’s performance was perfection from start to finish. “Adelaide’s Lament” was the song that made you clamor for more from this powerhouse performer.
Junior Sam Bolar has an effect similar to Ms. Nicholson’s when he arrives on the stage. Bolar’s role as Big Jule was funny, engaging, and provided a storyline you looked forward to following.
The ensemble was incredibly in sync, moving with ease and confidence in every scene. The choreography was exciting, unpredictable, well-rehearsed. The dancers moved with confidence across the stage and were a highlight in each scene in which they were present. Both “The Crapshooters’ Dance” and “Havana” were absolute treats to experience.
It was exciting to sit in a theater filled with a diverse group of both students and community patrons of the Arts and experience such a high quality production. Columbus State University, Dr. Dooley, and the Schwob School of Music have every reason to be proud of the product they are producing in the Department of Theatre and the Schwob School of Music. Columbus, Georgia should not only be proud of what is happening at our local University, but supportive of the art that is being produced. You do not want to miss Guys and Dolls at CSU!
If You Go:
What: Guys and Dolls
Where: Riverside Theatre, located at the corner of 10th St. and Bay Ave.
Showtimes: October 4-6 at 7:40 p.m. Cost: $20 adult, $17 senior/military/alumni, $12 children
Call: Call the box office at 706-507-8444 to get tickets. The box office will be open the week of the performances and will be open one hour prior to showtime for each showing. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from noon - 6 p.m.
Editor's Note: This article is published as a part of our Contributor Review series. At The Columbusite, we are committed to publishing positive and accessible information about the arts at all times. While our contributors review productions and events on behalf of our company, their writing reflects their opinion alone.