by Cara Martin“Each summer, Reedley’s River City Theatre Company (RCTC) puts on a ‘blockbuster’ musical,” says Mark Norwood (founder and Artistic Director). “We strive to have a very balanced theatrical season with original works and smaller musicals and comedies anchored by our summer show. Guys and Dolls is a very well known title and, while difficult to produce on our tiny stage, it is a wonderful show.”
River City will be finishing up their 7th season of year-round theatre in the Opera House, with Guys and Dolls being their 54th show. RCTC became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2004, and the company’s roots go back to Mark and Denise Norwood’s move to Reedley in 1993. “It takes many years and many dedicated people to build something as special as the River City Theatre Company.” When asked what his favorite part of the whole experience has been, Mark gave a simple yet meaningful answer: “the family.”
Jessica Ham, cast as a member of the Mission band in the play, says she loves the show. “The music in this show is incredible and Mr. Norwood has such a great eye for creative blocking. This is the most professional show I’ve ever been a part of. My favorite part is the organized rehearsals. We have a goal for each rehearsal and we always get everything done. Also, working with such a sweet and talented cast and having a funny director who is very talented.”
Guys and Dolls is an exciting play that takes place in New York, the city that never sleeps. From the news seller to the chorus girl, from the gambler to the missionary; the play’s inhabitants are all seemingly caught up in the teeming vitality of the city streets.
Sergeant Sarah Brown of the Save a Soul Mission, played by Kelly Hall, is vainly trying to spread the Word. She wants to make a difference amid the sin and depravity of the streets that are full of tipsters, gamblers and conmen. Adelaide, played by Stephanie Renee, is a showgirl — desperate to leave behind her seemingly glamorous lifestyle for a white picket fence and roses around the door — having a hard time finding that special someone who will commit.
Nathan Detroit, a gambler looking for the next game, played by Michael Angel, is trying to find yet another new location for his floating dice game and keeping just one short step ahead of the law. Sky Masterson, played by Erik Valencia, is the coolest, highest roller of them all and a man who would bet on anything that could turn him a profit. Each of the gamblers are eager for just one more roll, for that winning streak, which will keep them ahead of the game. These Guys and Dolls are central to Damon Runyon’s never-dull story.
The story intertwines Nathan’s need to find a location for his crap game, with the only location around coming at the high price of $1000, and a wager he makes that Sky cannot persuade Sarah to fly with him to Havana (for dinner). Things get interesting as Sky tries to convince Sarah he is a reformed sinner and promises to bring a dozen more sinners to the Mission. Wonderful songs such as “Guys and Dolls,” “Luck Be A Lady,” “Bushel And A Peck” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat” are woven into the action and hilarity.
This is opening weekend for Guys and Dolls and Reedley’s River City Theatre Company has worked hard — as they always do — to create an enjoyable production. Their efforts have yet again been rewarded as they opened to an enthusiastic, packed house last night. The show runs through August 1 at the Reedley Opera House (1720 10th Street), with performances at 8:00pm Thursday-Saturday and 2:00pm on Sundays. Tickets for Thursdays and Sundays are $18, Fridays and Saturdays are $24 with refreshments & dessert included or $44 with dinner. For more information, visit RCTC’s website and call 559-638-6500 or 866-977-6500 to make reservations.
Nicely-Nicely JohnsonJeff Lusk
Benny SouthstreetJamie Briceno
Rusty CharlieChristopher Borden
Sarah BrownKelly Hall
Arvide AbernathyDon Applegate
Harry The HorseAngel Antuna
Lt. Brannigan/Sky UnderstudyChris Giese
Nathan DetroitMichael Angel
Angie The OxTommie Hill
Miss AdelaideStephanie Renee
Sky MastersonErik Valencia
General Matilda B. CartwrightMarianne McFarlin
Big JuleTan Clark
Hot Box Dancer/Adelaide UnderstudySarah Wiebe
Hot Box Dancer/Sarah UnderstudyLindsey Jones
Hot Box DancersStacie Hall, Courtney Cowin, Lana Rotan,
Victoria Rosales, Heather Awbrey Glosier
Mission Band/New YorkersKishma Morales, Jessica Ham,
Sabrina Antuna, Tamara Turner,
Meg Clark, Teresa Hasty Hoopes
Crap Shooters/New YorkersEric Herrera, Ben Applegate,
Mathew Bolden, Chris Reclusado