Theater Review: Stylish new production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ at Timber Lake

Hayley Gribble performs as Miss Adelaide in Timber Lake’s “Guys and Dolls.” (Photo provided)

By Bill Beard
Theater Critic

If you’ve never seen the famous musical Guys and Dolls, GO! See it this week at that charming little “theater in the woods” near Mt. Carroll, Ill., Timber Lake Playhouse. If you’ve seen the musical before, perhaps even several productions, I still say, “GO!”

This has an absolutely wonderful Miss Adelaide, the NYC Hot Box dancer and “well-known fiancée,” played by Hayley Gribble, a little Kansas gal out of Oklahoma City University, and well on her way to the Great White Way herself. It also has the excellent, full, rich-singing voice of relative newcomer Dryden Meintz, as big-time gambler, Sky Masterson. His love interest, the Save-A-Soul-Mission lass Sarah Brown, is provided by the naturally charming Hanah Rose Nardone; and Miss Adelaide’s crap-game-running gambler lover, Nathan Detroit, is played by Southwest Missouri U’s BFA acting major, Joe Capstick.

Add the terrific voice of Tim Wessel in a rousing rendition of “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat,” and, in fact, a full ensemble of attractive, mellifluous-voiced singers who also handle the demanding dance numbers of the “meet every challenge of a difficult dance show” choreography of New York’s Will Taylor, and you have an evening of fast-paced, colorfully costumed, cleverly staged (by Artistic Director James Beaudry) musical theater entertainment. Well worth the hour’s drive through some lovely countryside to one of the oldest and best summer stock theaters this side of New York.

This is a terrific production of a classic Broadway musical. It requires an adroit handling, which Beaudry always supplies. It is carefully and playfully stylized, perhaps a tiny bit too much in some few instances (an overdone character moment here or there or a bit of bizarre costuming or business), but it echoes the original production style, and it is fast, fun and fantastic!

Go! It plays through Sunday, June 17. (By the by, definitely check out Timber Lake’s next show, the wonderful musical version of Studs Terkel’s significant and evocative study of Americana, Working, opening June 21.)

For information and tickets: (815) 244-2035 or

From the June 13-19, 2012, issue

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