Josh, Grant and Brett sing "Fugue for Tinhorns"

Brett, Grant and Johnny

Grant, Eddie and Brett sing "Oldest Established"

Mary Jo and the Hot Box Girls sing "Bushel and a Peck"


Brittney and Matthew sing if "I Were a Bell"


The Hoogland Center for the Arts recently closed their spectacular concert version of GUYS AND DOLLS, one of the greatest American musical comedies of all time. The concert featured a lush on-stage orchestra, a cast of over 60, and Eddie Mekka from the classic ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley starring as Nathan Detroit. GUYS AND DOLLS – IN CONCERT waspresented in the LRS Theatre at the Hoogland Center for the Arts on August 28-30.

Eddie Mekka is best known to television audiences for his role as Carmine Ragusa, “the Big Ragoo,” on the hit ABC-TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley. Mr. Mekka has guest starred on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Moonlighting, Family Matters, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, 24, The Jamie Fox Show and many more. He has appeared in such films as Beaches, A League of their Own (as Madonna’s boyfriend), Taking the Heat, Dear God and Dreamgirls.

In 1974, Eddie got his big break on Broadway in the Vietnam War-themed rock opera THE LIEUTENANT, a performance that earned him a Best Actor nomination by both the Tony and Drama Desk committees. Eddie also appeared in such shows as JUMPERS, THE MAGIC SHOW with Doug Henning and DAMN YANKEES with Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston.

Eddie has starred in the first National tour of THE GOODBYE GIRL, the national tour of GREASE (starring opposite Cindy Williams) and productions of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, CHESS, JAKE'S WOMEN, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG and the recent Off-Broadway comedy MY MOTHER'S ITALIAN, MY FATHER'S JEWISH AND I'M IN THERAPY.

The cast also included Mary Jo Curry as Miss Adelaide, Matthew Vala as Sky Masterson, Brittney McLaughlin as Sarah Brown, Grant Estes as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Brett Rutherford as Benny Southstreet, Joshua Ratz as Rusty Charlie, Steve Sykes as Arvide Abernathy, Pat Foster as Harry the Horse, Flynn Hanners as Big Jule, Johnny Molson (of ALICE 97.7) as Lt. Brannigan and Jennifer Jones as General Cartwright. Hot Box Girls – Julie Ratz, Luda Olifiruk, Lexie Montgomery, Carrie Schultz, Selina Pritchard, Elizabeth Staab; Gamblers – Erik Lyons, Randy Dunham, Jason Goodreau, Greg Floyd, Jeff Prince; Mission Band – Agatha - Shelley Simon, Calvin - Sean VanAusdall-Rose, Donn Stephens, Kayla Primm, Lucy Dalton-Lackie; The "Guys and Dolls" Chorus: Men - Donn Stephens, Joel Tinsley, Adam Volk, Bill Bauser, Steve Krampitz, Craig Williams II, Kelly Trier, John Creviston, Eric Huber, John Sivak, Nick Throop, Ed Smith, Tom Heintzelman, Roger Streu, Steve Rotello, Rich Kuschel, Gil Opferman, Tom Pickett, Wayne Petro; Women - Kristy Crouse, Madison Kauffman, Stacey Hollerauer, Jessica Wrincik, Claire Gordon, Amy Gordon, Rachel Rambach, Betsy Goulet, Shirley McConnaughay, Sherry Frachey, Shannon Lawler, Mindy Kolaz, Nicole Sylvester Butts, Karee Prince, Michelle Tebrugge, Melody Sheehan, Kim Carter Parker, Leigh Ann Smith, Ann Opferman and Lori Ann Mitts. The show also features a 20 piece orchestra, comprised of some of the best musicians in town.

Gus Gordon directed the production, with musical direction by Karen Ferguson and Doug Hahn. The staff included Gary Shull (choreography), Glenn Jones (sound), Cheryl Sakris (costumes), Don Russell (set), Kevin Zepp (lights), Melody Sheehan (props) and Diane Hoots and Annie Germann (makeup).

The show was sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, the State Journal-Register and Arena Food Service, Inc.