"Guys and Dolls" - Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling & Frank Loesser - Greater Boston Stage Company (Stoneham, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of the iconic musical "GUYS AND DOLLS" by Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling and Frank Loesser presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. now playing through June 30, 2024. Photo Credit Gillian Gordon)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724   

"Oh, I don't mind, Nathan, if you don't give me a present. It makes me feel like we were married." 

   - ("Adelaide") / Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling and Frank Loesser

Greater Boston Stage Company  

Presents the Iconic Broadway Musical


We got your horse right here! 

Book by Abe Burrows & Jo Swerling

Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser 

Director/Choreographer Ceit Zweil

Assistant Director Arthur Gomez* 

Music Director Dan Rodriguez

Cast Includes: Arthur Gomez* as “Nathan Detroit” (Assistant Director); Carolyn Saxon* as “General Cartwright,” Sara Coombs as “Miss Adelaide,” Jared Troilo* as “Sky Masterson,” Mark Linehan* as “Benny Southstreet,” Chip Phillips* as “Arvide,” Lisa Kate Joyce as “Sarah Brown,” Abigail Martin+ as “Agatha”/”Hot Box Girl 1,” Stephen Markarian* as “Nicely Nicely Johnson,” Darren Paul as “Harry The Horse,” Kaedon Gray as “Calvin”/“Brannigan,” Hannah Shihdanian as “Angie”/“Mimi”/“Hot Box Girl 3,” Allison Russell+ as “Martha”/“Big Jule”/”Hot Box Girl 2,” Christian David* as “Rusty Charlie,” Laura Markarian+ as “Sarah Brown”/“Miss Adelaide” (Understudy & Dance Captain), Understudies: Autumn Blazon-Brown+ and John Pagliarulo+

Additional Creative Team:

Scenic Designer - Jon Savage^; Assistant Scenic Designer - Danielle Ibrahim;  Lighting Designer - Corey Whittemore;  Costume Designer - Deirdre Gerrard; Sound Designer - John Stone;  Sound Engineers - Denzil Kakol and Megan Ward;  Properties Designer - Emily Allinson;  Dramaturge - Sydney Grant;  Production Manager - Casey Blackbird;  Production Stage Manager - Shauwna Dias Grillo*;  Assistant Stage Manager - E.D. Fitzgerald*;  Production Assistant - Cassie Lebeau;  Wardrobe/Production Assistant - Erin Shine; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Consultant - Kira Troilo. 

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. 

^Member of IATSE/USA 

+Young Company Alum


June 7, 2024 through June 30, 2024 

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times) 

GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY, 395 Main Street Stoneham, MA 02180 

Reserve your tickets today!

Box Office Hours: Mondays – Fridays, noon to 6pm 

Box Office # 781-279-2200 




Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Greater Boston Stage Company (GBSC) in Stoneham has staged an impressive adaptation of the classic Broadway musical, "GUYS AND DOLLS" and, make no mistake, it is the "DOLLS" here who have the edge.

While the production has many strong principals and, under the guidance of director/choreographer Ceit Zweil (and assistant director Arthur Gomez), a highly effective supporting ensemble, there are two performances that lead the way.

"GUYS AND DOLLS," with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, is based on two short stories by Damon Runyon: "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brownand "Blood Pressure," along with other characters and plot elements from other assorted Runyon stories. 

The impetus for the Runyon tales was to bring readers into the world of gangsters, gamblers, and other denizens of the New York underworld. 

Instead, the gangsters we see in this fun, classic musical are closer to cartoon mobsters one might observe in an old "Bugs Bunny" cartoon than anybody from "The Godfather."

In lieu of giving us the more vicious "classic" gangsters a la Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson, we get characters who are imbued with humor mixing proper spoken English with the equally (and hilarious) improper use of colorful slang. 

"GUYS AND DOLLS" made its Broadway debut in 1950, running for 1,200 performances. 

The musical would go on to win five 1951 Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical

So popular, the musical spawned an iconic 1955 film with Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine

The show has since been revived multiple times and now local theatregoers can enjoy a solid staging in Stoneham by Greater Boston Stage Company.

"GUYS AND DOLLS" has existed close to 75 years as being considered an “epic” musical, one with audiences usually expecting – in some cases demanding - the show be staged with grand scale or "spectacle" proportions in mind. 

This would normally include massive sets, resplendent costumes, a 20-30 piece orchestra and a dance ensemble made up of dozens and dozens of dancers.

Well, GBSC has scaled back some of the "spectacle' usually involved. So, anyone expecting any of the above might find this production lacking.

They would, however, be somewhat unfair in that assessment.

GBSC still has a cast of principals whose collective caliber of talent will have many believing that this production is still worthy of being called “epic.”

(Photo: The CAST of the iconic musical "GUYS AND DOLLS" by Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling and Frank Loesser presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. now playing through June 30, 2024. Photo Credit Gillian Gordon)

Music Director Dan Rodriguez has assembled a fine orchestra which plays on the stage throughout the production. 

The above is both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing is in the talented musicians and their marvelous execution of the score.

The curse is how their placement on stage is practically dead center (although toward the back) which limits the amount of remaining space for which the action takes place.

This does not deter the exceptional cast and supporting ensemble from delivering the best performance possible.

Kicking things off, three small-time gamblers, Nicely-Nicely (Stephen Markarian), Benny (Mark Linehan) and Rusty Charlie (Christian David) debate which horse will win a big race in one of the most memorable opening numbers in musical history, "Fugue for Tinhorns. 

Even after seven decades, the above is still one of those "ear-worm" tunes that stays with you long after the show is over.

There are many more such fabulous numbers, especially in the show's second act where Markarian leads the cast in the always reliable crowd pleaser, "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."  

Throughout the musical, Markarian and Linehan carry much of the humor in the story with some memorable comedic moments, especially in the show's title number "GUYS AND DOLLS," featuring some humorous choreography.

(Photo: Lisa Kate Joyce as “Sarah Brown” with Jared Troilo as “Sky Masterson” sharing in a moment from the iconic musical "GUYS AND DOLLS" by Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling and Frank Loesser presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. now playing through June 30, 2024. Photo Credit Gillian Gordon)

The band members of the Save-a-Soul Mission enter, led by their magnificently moral Sergeant Sarah Brown (Lisa Kate Joyce), who calls for the many neighborhood sinners to "Follow the Fold" and repent. 

This is where we are witness to one of the two incredible "DOLL"-led performances of the evening as Joyce is an absolutely superb vocalist, also maintaining a great sense of the character.

Joyce continuously reminds us of this fact in later numbers, “I'll Know,” “If I Were a Bell” and “I've Never Been in Love Before. 

Nathan Detroit (Arthur Gomez), runs an illegal floating crap game and, in order to secure his latest spot, the "Biltmore Garage,” Nathan needs a $1,000 security deposit, which sings about with Benny, Nicely Nicely and the ensemble in "The Oldest Established.”   

Gomez brings a lot of quick witted humor and retorts in his portrayal of the "reliable" schemer Nathan. 

However, Gomez also showcases well Nathan’s softer side, especially his soft spot for his one true love, “Adelaide” (Sara Coombs) his long-suffering fiancé…of 14 years

(Photo: Arthur Gomez as “Nathan Detroit” with Sara Coombs as “Miss Adelaide” in a scene from the iconic musical "GUYS AND DOLLS" by Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling and Frank Loesser presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. now playing through June 30, 2024. Photo Credit Gillian Gordon)

Here we have the other "DOLL"-led highlight of the evening in Coombs' performance as Adelaide, especially in her nightclub act numbers "A Bushel and a Peck" and then, later, “Take Back Your Mink.” 

Coombs also has a number of standout duets with Gomez in “Sue Me, and with Joyce in “Marry the Man Today” then blows everyone away with her own solo number, “Adelaide’s Lament. 

To secure his $1,000 deposit, Nathan sets up a bet against Sky Masterson (Jared Troilo), a gambler who has made a reputation for winning by betting on virtually anything. 

Not trying to do some lame Brando impersonation (young Brando or, mercifully, older), Troilo approaches Sky with total charisma and amiability.   

Nathan makes a bet with Sky which he believes he cannot lose. Sky must take a woman of Nathan's choice to dinner in Havana, Cuba

Sky agrees but Nathan chooses Sergeant Sarah.

Once Sky and Sarah meet, sparks fly but the attraction between them is instantaneous.  

This all leads up to the events of Act Two where Sky makes the bet of his life in the exhilarating iconic number, "Luck Be a Lady," which Troilo and the supporting ensemble execute meticulously. 

(Photo: Sara Coombs as “Miss Adelaide” with her "Hot Box Girls" (Abigail Martin, Hannah Shihdanian and Allison Russell) in a moment from the iconic musical "GUYS AND DOLLS" by Abe Burrows, Jo Swerling and Frank Loesser presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. now playing through June 30, 2024. Photo Credit Gillian Gordon)

The rest that follows is simply great fun until the show’s incredibly quick wrap-up of events in the finale (which has always been an issue).

Again, "GUYS AND DOLLS" is strictly lighthearted fare and the talent involved is expert in delivering the humor and the charm that goes along with the musical.

That said, there were a couple of creative choices which seemed questionable. 

In addition to the musicians being located center stage, there was the added constriction of space due to two side panels stage right and left at the front of the stage. 

Anyone seated either far house left or right would find themselves having to lean in at times just to see some of the action taking place on stage.

The above also forced dancers to restrict any group numbers to front center stage reducing the visual impact of some of the mostly well-executed choreography.

Thankfully, the use of specialized lighting helped to visually enhance the group dance numbers.

The ensemble members who performed as multiple characters should receive high praise for their managing of the multiple rapid costume changes required.

(Photo: The CAST of the iconic musical "GUYS AND DOLLS" by Abe BurrowsJo Swerling and Frank Loesser presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham, MA. now playing through June 30, 2024. Photo Credit Gillian Gordon)

Going back to the cartoonish nature of the show's characters: 

Some of the New York City lit-up street signs and landmarks almost resembled panels from a comic strip, which was an interesting approach yet, again, if someone were to be expecting sets on a grander scale, they might be disappointed. 

Using Adelaide's fellow "Hot Box Girls" (Abigail Martin, Hannah Shihdanian and Allison Russell) as multiple characters occasionally worked to supplement the dance ensemble.

Conversely, though, other times this choice served as a distraction, especially in the decision to use Allison Russell as gambler/gangster “Big Jule” which, despite a solid effort by Russell, simply did not work.

Ultimately, the best reason to see "GUYS AND DOLLS" is Joyce and Coombs who give two of the best performances this season and, by the time they duet on “Marry the Man Today, they have already won us over.

Greater Boston Stage Company's  "GUYS AND DOLLS" continues in Stoneham until June 30th and, "if you are really looking for some action, I will bet you a thousand" you'll find it here in the form of one of the greatest Broadway musicals ever.

For tickets, contact the Box Office at # 781-279-2200 or at 



Approximately two hours, 30 minutes with one intermission.  

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)




Luck Be a Lady Tonight!

We Got Your Horse Right Here! 

Join us for a high energy chamber version of Broadway’s greatest romantic musical comedy!  

Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, "GUYS AND DOLLS" is the perfect musical comedy. 

Gambler, Nathan Detroit, tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck; meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide, laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years. 

Nathan turns to fellow gambler, Sky Masterson, for the dough, and Sky ends up chasing the strait-laced missionary, Sarah Brown, as a result. 

This intimate chamber version of "GUYS AND DOLLS" takes us from the heart of Times Square to the cafes of Havana, Cuba, and even into the sewers of New York City, but eventually everyone ends up right where they belong.


We bring vibrant professional theatre and dramatic education beyond the boundaries of Boston, featuring world and regional premieres alongside fresh interpretations of familiar work. Within this setting, we uniquely foster the artists of tomorrow by providing ongoing performance and employment opportunities to our company of current and former students. Located in Stoneham, MA. GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY produces five Mainstage shows, presents a series of Special Events, and runs year-round classes, lessons, and fully staged productions through The Young Company for students in grades 1–12.


395 Main Street 

Stoneham, MA 02180 

Box Office # 781-279-2200