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 Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of the musical “Guys and Dolls” stars Nick Marinello as Nathan Detroit opposite Catie Hauff as Adelaide.

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of the musical “Guys and Dolls” stars Nick Marinello as Nathan Detroit opposite Catie Hauff as Adelaide.

Photo by Dale Pegg, provided by Grosse Pointe Theatre


GPT betting audiences will love new production of ‘Guys and Dolls’

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 7, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Grosse Pointe Theatre is hoping that this, its third production of the classic musical “Guys and Dolls,” will charm audiences as much as the previous two did.

The 1950 Broadway smash, which was staged by GPT in the 1960s and in 1992, will return with a run of performances Jan. 10-19 at Grosse Pointe North High School’s Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Set in 1940s/1950s New York City, the musical centers on two couples — gambling organizer Nathan Detroit and his fiancé of 14 years, dancer Adelaide, and charming gambling legend Sky Masterson and missionary Sarah Brown, who has relocated to New York to convert sinners like Masterson.

Nathan bets Sky he can’t convince Sarah to join Sky in Havana for dinner, which leads to a series of attempts by Sky to woo the religious young woman. Nathan is played by Nick Marinello, of St. Clair Shores; Adelaide is played by Catie Hauff, of Richmond; Sky is played by Zak Shugart, of Troy; and Sarah is played by Megan Welenc, of Rochester Hills.

Famous songs include “Luck Be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck” and “I’ll Know.”

Don Bischoff, of Macomb Township, a 19-year GPT veteran, is directing this show.

“It’s a crowd favorite,” said Bischoff of GPT’s decision to stage “Guys and Dolls” a third time. Like other musicals from that period, he said this is a “happy-go-lucky” show.

Visually, the production resembles a full box of Crayola crayons.

“It purposely does not take itself seriously,” Marinello said. “It’s a silly show. And that allows us as a cast to be big and bold. It’s this cartoon show about New York in the 1940s and ’50s. The set is purposely not realistic. It’s big and bright — it’s like a dream sequence.”

Shugart said the show is full of vintage slang and dialect, but modern audiences can easily follow it.

“I think the music is really special in this show — some big, bold numbers,” he said.

Welenc said she isn’t surprised that “Guys and Dolls” remains popular decades after its Broadway debut.

“I think the music is the No. 1 (draw), because all of the songs are so catchy and fun,” Welenc said. “And I think there’s a demand for something fluffy and lighthearted.”

Kyle O’Donnell, of Grosse Pointe Woods, plays Benny Southstreet, one of the gamblers. He said he first performed in “Guys and Dolls” while he was a student at Grosse Pointe North High School in 2008.

“It was my first big show,” O’Donnell said. “It’s got some of the catchiest songs. Even in the chorus, you’ve got a lot of great songs.”

Bischoff said he’s added more dance numbers to the production to take advantage of the many skilled hoofers in his cast.

“Don is really phenomenal with big musicals, and his vision is always fresh,” said Patricia Ellis, of Grosse Pointe City, who is in the cast and also is handling public relations for “Guys and Dolls.”

“Everyone leaving will leave with a smile on their face, humming the songs,” Hauff said.

Other cast members include Doug Clark, of Royal Oak; Tom Pagano, of Clinton Township; Jerry Nehr, of Clinton Township; Charlie Rinderknect, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Phil Potter, of St. Clair Shores; Charlie Davis, of Grosse Pointe City; Laura Bartell, of Grosse Pointe Shores; Tracy Bischoff, of Macomb Township; Becky Bodley, of Mount Clemens; Sarah Born, of Ortonville; Alex Hysick, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Kristina Kamm, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Genevieve Michael, of St. Clair Shores; Julia Bayer, of St. Clair Shores; Olyvia Brown, of Harper Woods; Brad Hardecki, of Grosse Pointe Woods; William Giovan, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Nick Hysick, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Jack Johns, of Mount Clemens; Ryan Quinn, of Clawson; Gordon Richardson, of Grosse Pointe Park; Trevor Sherry, of Clinton Township; Mike Trudel, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Brett Wotherspoon, of Detroit; Bridget Healey, of Roseville; and Campbelle Stencel, of Grosse Pointe Farms.

The Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center at Grosse Pointe North High School is located at 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods. Tickets cost $26, and free valet and self-parking will be available. For tickets or more information, call the GPT box office at (313) 881-4004 or visit www.gpt.org.

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