As the title implies, “Guys and Dolls” is all about the pairings, and there are a lot of fun and lovable pairings to choose from in this production of the show presented by Fresno Pacific University this weekend – from lovers quarrels to male bonding and female solidarity, it’s got something for everyone in the duets department.
Which is probably why the moment I’m choosing to write up is a decidedly solo moment, a real show-stopper combining clever staging from director Brooke Aiello and an endearing performance from Annelise Escobedo as Adelaide.
The stylish set features two large billboard pieces with vintage-style signage that move and rotate according to the needs of the scene, while a moving platform with stairs does some heavy lifting. During Adelaide’s Second Lament in act two, Escobedo positions herself on that platform with all of the pathetic glamour she can muster while singing her woes of love and colds, while a team of ensemble members roll her center stage as two brightly colored billboards swirl behind her into a visually striking position as her number comes to a crescendo. The ensemble strikes a pose worthy of the drama as she hovers above them, a pin-up goddess with a school-girl squeak singing out to the skyline.
It is a striking and well-executed piece of staging that really soars (so to speak). I can only hope that there is a production photographer coming in to do that moment justice!
In the meantime, here is a photo from the rehearsal process to whet your appetite. But you really have to see it (and hear it!) in its final form to have a full appreciation.
“Guys and Dolls” has four more performances this weekend: Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m. and Sat/Sun at 2 p.m. at the Selma Arts Center. Tickets and information HERE!
About Just a Moment
The conundrum: I used to review shows. I no longer do unless specifically asked. But from time to time I still like to tell the world a little something about what I saw. My solution: The “Just a Moment” where I will discuss one moment in a show I watch that I found effective (or perhaps ALMOST effective?) and then try to articulate why. Not the whole show, not a review, just something that struck me personally.
They’ll be compiled in this category, if you’d like to see the other Moments. (And yes, the idea struck me while watching Into the Woods.)