Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Guys and Dolls
Landmark Musicals
Review by Rob Spiegel

Also see Dean's review of The Curious Savage

Shawn Wayne King and Erin Warden
Photo by Max Woltman
Guys and Dolls first received the moniker "The Perfect Musical Comedy" from the Daily News back in 1950 when it premiered on Broadway. With music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling, Guys and Dolls won that year's Tony Award for best musical. It was selected to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1951, but Burrows had trouble with Joe McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, so the trustees of Columbia University decided not to give an award for theatre that year.

After a successful run on Broadway, the musical—which is based on two short stories by Damon Runyon—has seen many productions. In 1955, it was made into a film featuring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. I saw a revival on Broadway with Jamie Farr ("MASH"'s Klinger) as Nathan Detroit in the mid-1990s.

Landmark Musicals has taken up this shiny workhorse and presents it in its full color. There is a cartoonish luster, and producers Myra Cochnar and Louis Giannini and director Debi Kierst give the production a full-blown splash of primary colors, complete with delicious costumes (Wyndra Marie Lucas, wardrobe master, and Larry Schultz, "Hot Box" costume design). Seeing the plaid suits worn by Nathan Detroit and his goofy thugs is worth the price of admission. Giannini takes on his usual chore as choreographer, this time aided by Courtney Giannini as co-choreographer. Terrific as always. The set by Dahl Delu is just right.

Landmark has gained a fine reputation with its productions of classic musicals, which is supported by its commitment to live music. Yet this surprisingly strong production takes Landmark to a new level of across-the-board excellence.

All of the pistons are firing. While there are some standout performances—Shawn Wayne King as a cool Sky Masterson and Meghan Bode as a deliciously ditzy Miss Adelaide—the acting, dancing and singing pulls together into a well-gelled ensemble. Great job across the board on this production.

Guys and Dolls by Landmark Musicals will run through July 31, 2016. Performances are on Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. There will also be a special matinee performance on Saturday, July 30 at 2:00 pm. Performances are held in Rodey Theatre at the UNM Fine Arts Complex. Tickets are $20, $22, and $24, with a $2 discount for students and seniors. For more information and tickets, visit or call 505-925-5858 or 877-664-8661.

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