The Chanticleer Community Theater has taken up gambling. For a city that already is home to three casinos, this should not be a surprise. However this form is a little different. They are performing "Guys and Dolls Jr." while singing about gambling, love, sin, love and falling in love.
A "junior" version abbreviates the original songs and dialogue making the story move faster and has no intermission. The show lasts about ninety minutes and is appropriate for all ages.
This weekend concludes "Guys and Dolls Jr." with a large cast of children, phenomenal sets and costumes, superb musical numbers, and obviously a host of adults who have donated their time and talents to make this show a success.
Opening the show with "Fugue for Tinhorns" was sung by Matthew Hansen as Nice-Nicely Johnson, Adam Fulbright as Benny Southstreet, and Conner Mowery as Rusty Charlie. These three set the tone for the rest of this Broadway musical that has been around for sixty-five years with strong entrances and great harmonies.
In the lead role of Sarah Brown, Hannah Goodrich sang beautifully while Nick Haats as Sky Masterson showed a tremendous stage presence. Isabelle Cutler as Miss Adelaide was the perfect squeaky New Yorker frustrated while being spending fourteen years being engaged to Nathan Detroit portrayed by Matthew Parker who has a wonderful singing voice.
Unquestionably "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" almost stopped the show on opening night. Singing the lead as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Matthew Hansen was phenomenal along with the entire cast while they were singing and dancing. The movements were simple, yet intriguing and well-planned with everyone, cast and audience enjoying their music. This is musical theater at its best.
Another stand-out favorite of mine was the singing of "More I Cannot Wish You" with Riley Pope's beautiful singing. This particular song is different in style from the others in this musical and was perfectly matched with her voice.
While the show actually lasts about ninety minutes, this includes fifteen scenes with eighteen songs and forty-six cast members for a fast-paced and enjoyable show for everyone of all ages.
Coordinating this many people within a short amount time showed the expertise of the support crew and direction. Denise Putman as director, Jerry Gray as musical director, Ariel Ibsen as choreographer, Beth Rutz as stage manager, Ann Coombs as costumer, Bob Putman as tech director, Darrin Golden in charge of light design, Dave Podendorf running the sound system, with Cheyenne Hanson being the light board operator and numerous others make this show successful and memorable.
The show continues through this weekend with performances at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday at 2 p.m. The ticket prices are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors over the age of sixty and $10 for students. You can purchase tickets by calling the box office at (712) 323-9955 located at 830 Franklin Ave. in Council Bluffs.
Each year I am amazed by these "junior" productions and how each demonstrates the talent in our area by watching these children become singers, actors, and dancers.
A special thank you is to Rhoden Auto Center in Council Bluffs for partially funding this production of Chanticleer Community Theater.
What is amazing in this show is the youth, talent, and musical ability of this cast. These are unquestionably the performers of tomorrow.