Guys and Dolls

Is Guys and Dolls' Adelaide the best female comic role in American musical theater history? Or does Billie Wildrick just make it seem that way? In Frank Loesser's 1950 musical, she plays, sublimely, a New York City showgirl trying to get her man to the altar. Beyond that old fish-with-a-bicycle trope, beyond her boop-boop-be-doop surface, Wildrick seems to read her as the only adult onstage—a frustrated realist, the only major character who hasn't constructed a fantasy to keep the world at bay. She hungers less for the whole white-picket-fence thing than for her fiancé, craps huckster Nathan Detroit (Daniel C. Levine), the oldest established perpetual floating adolescent in New York, finally to grow up and commit to something/anything. As in its past revivals of Broadway musicals, the 5th has assembled the best local talent on offer and communicates a heartfelt and giddily joyous insight into what made these shows fizz in the first place and how to make them do so again. GAVIN BORCHERT

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 12. Continues through June 5, 2011

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