Lauren Graham‘s production of Guys and Dolls opened earlier this month on Broadway for previews and I’ve already shared a number of great fan reviews of the production. The show has also been selling out fantastically for each preview performance. Laura, another fan, has sent in her review of the production as well as some photos she took with Lauren after the preview!
I’m jealous of Laura’s great experience just writing this! Check out what Laura has to say of Lauren Graham and her co-stars in the four main leads of Guys and Dolls. And also check out BroadwayWorld.com for some photos during the show!!
Lauren Graham (as Miss Adelaide)
Lauren was wonderful. I had high hopes going into the show, but I was also nervous, as I wanted my favorite television actress to be great. I was most impressed and suprised by her voice. She really has a great one! In the now classic GG scene in which Lorelai serenades Luke at the karaoke bar, it was clear that Graham had a decent voice. But as Miss Adelaide, the lead singer of at the “Hot Box”, Graham shows that she can really belt it out! I was nervous to see Lauren dance (I have an oddly specific memory of her awkward dancing skills in the final scene of the terrible “Because I Said So”) but she held her own.
My only complaint, though, was that she has to become more comfortable on stage. When it came to delivering a joke, Graham was perfection. She has natural comedic timing and it shows in every scene. During the few dancing numbers, Graham’s character (and the ensemble of the other female ‘Hot Box’ dancers) has to do some stripping. No, this is not an NC-17 rated show and consequently, there is nothing in bad taste. Nonetheless, Graham has to go from oversized farming overalls to a sexy dress to a bikini type of thing to a flesh-colored body suit. Maybe it’s because I am so used to seeing her up close and paid special attention to her face, but I could tell that Lauren wasn’t completely comfortable during those moments. And, I understand completely. I bet that Lauren will improve her confidence in these moments during the show’s run.
After the show, I eagerly waited outside the theater doors in anticipation to see Ms. Graham. I’m a pretty petite person and I can be aggressive when I want to (is there a situation that deserves it more than this?) and I shuffled my way to the front of the crowd. Lauren was incredibly nice! She said that she was a little under the weather so she didn’t want to get too close to people. Nonetheless, she promised to give autographs to everyone who was there. I was lucky enough to snap a few pictures of her and get one of me and Lauren. It appears that we are holding hands. Sadly, we’re not. She was her chipper, talkative witty self. The person who many of us have youtubed and seen gabbing with Ellen and Jay and Conan in a similar manner. Still, it was clear that she was not just a caricature, as she seemed quite real and pretty exhausted (I saw the 5th performance and during these first few weeks it’s typical for actors to have rehearsals during the days, as well).
My dad (who accompanied me to the show and has gotten hooked on GG thanks to my obsession) comments that Kate Jennings Grant, the actress who played Sarah Brown (the other female lead in the show) seemed more comfortable on stage than Lauren. I snapped back, defending my favorite actress, saying that Lauren’s character was a bit more superficial and had less to work with. Still, my dad has a point. Jennings Grant has had a lot more live theater experience than Graham and that experience came through during the show. It is undeniable that Graham is a talented actress with a rare combination of fantastic comedic timing and the ability to pull off poignant, dramatic scenes in a real and natural way. However, Graham has been used to working on television where cameras can zoom in on your face and get any facial change, no matter how subtle it may be. I think it will take some time for Lauren’s amazing mastery of her face to translate onto the stage. Don’t get me wrong, she had a great performance (getting the biggest applause of the night, thanks to the hundreds of young women, teens and tweens who are devoted fans) but it is hard to compare her portrayal of Miss Adelaide, a whiny but lovable dancer, with her portrayl of Lorelai Gilmore.
Oliver Platt (as Nathan Detroit)
Platt was a big dissapointment. As the most well-known star, he had top billing in the show. With this in mind, I had pretty high expectations. Platt did not meet any of them. No, he fell way short. His voice was decent and he looked the part of a not-so-charming schmuck. But that was all he brought to the part. He seemed like he was just sleeping through all of his scenes. And, as the long-time fiance of Lauren Graham and her frequent scene-sharer, Platt was totally out-shone by our favorite Gilmore girl. In my opinion, it was hard to see why Miss Adelaide (Graham’s character) could have stayed with Nathan Detroit (Platt’s character) for so long.
Craig Bierko (as Sky Masterson)
This man is a real talent! He has a bunch of Tony nominations, mainly for his role as the lead in “The Music Man”. He was everything that Oliver Platt wasn’t: likable, charming and natural. Additionally, he is a tall and lovely speciman of a man who is quite easy on the eyes. He and Kate Jennings Grant who played Sarah shared an unforced chemistry. Their scenes, consequently, were better than those of Platt and Graham because of Platt’s underachieving and just plain dull portrayl of Nathan Detroit.
Kate Jennings Grant (Sarah Brown)
Jennings Grant was wonderful! She is a more accomplished stage actress than Graham and it showed in her comfortability in her scenes. She seemed to be tailor made to play Sarah and the scene and song between her and Lauren was very enjoyable (“Marry The Man Today”).
Guys and Dolls has its official opening night on March 1st at the Nederlander Theater. You can buy tickets here. If you go to the production, leave a comment or email me to tell me what you think – and if you’re lucky enough to get a photo of and/or with Lauren, do let me know so I can share it!
Images used with permission