Everybody loves a love story, so why not up the ante with two love stories?
That's exactly what "Guys and Dolls" does with the tale of Miss Adelaide -- who's been waiting 14 years for her love, Nathan Detroit, to pop the ever-evaded question -- and Sky Masterson, a sleek gambler who accidentally falls for a Sarah Brown, the most prudish missionary in all of New York City.
From the moment the curtain opens to reveal the Placer Community Theater cast staged in dramatic, statuesque silhouette against a Broadway backdrop, "Guys and Dolls" is one guffaw after another wrapped in a double-love story told in a seedy, gamblers' underworld.
Lauren Langley, who enrolled in a beginning acting class at Sierra College last year, finesses her roll, singing, dancing, and acting as Miss Adelaide with a thick New York accent as well as a "psychosomatic head cold."
Meanwhile, Taylor Hart, who will attend Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts this fall, is dynamic as Sarah Brown, the straight-laced savior of souls who finally cuts loose at a night club in Havana.
But let's not forget the gambling, bumbling, scary and shining guys of the show: Jon Sorenson, whose previous PCT performances include "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Mary Poppins" is Nathan Lane-ish as Nathan (or Nate'n) Detroit, whose main objectives are to find a venue for a craps game, get his cut, keep his love interest from finding out what he's up to, and avoid marrying her.
Bear River graduate, Aubrey Harwell, may be the most debonair Sky Masterson to ever grace the stage, and his performance of "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" would give Fred Astaire a run for his dice.
As a counterpoint to the suave and subtle Masterson, Philip Jaques is downright frightening as big-time roller, Jule, a man whose game doesn't end until he's on top -- or every other player is swimming with the fishes.
Swirl it all together with performances by David Abrahams as Benny Southstreet, Luc Clopton as Nicely-Nicely, Steven Alexander Hester as Rusty Charlie, Fred Burks as Arvide Abernathy, dance numbers by the Hot Box Dolls, choreography by Dinah Smith and musical direction by Lisa Sands, and lucky Auburn has got a winning combination.
It didn't hurt, said Director Charles Davidson, that Faith Prince, who won a Tony award for her stage performance of Miss Adelaide, came to Placer County to teach an actors' workshop during rehearsals.
"She would give (the actors) unique insight into their characters and the show based on her experience," Davidson wrote.
Theater-goers have just one more weekend to see the results for themselves.
Final performances of "Guys and Dolls" will be held 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, August 4 and 5, and 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5 at the State Theater in Downtown Auburn, 985 Lincoln Way.
For ticket information, visit Brown Paper Tickets.
For more information about Placer Community Theater, which is currently fundraising for its own rehearsal space, visit the Placer Community Theater website.
* All photos courtesy of Philip Jaques.