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Guys and Dolls: 2003

The story is set in downtown New York in the era of the gangsters. Nathan Detroit is a loveable rogue who, desperate to pay for his floating crap game, bets Sky Masterson $1,000 that Sky will not be able to take Salvation Army girl Sarah Brown to Cuba. While Sky works on Sarah, Nathan battles with his fiancée of 14 years, Miss Adelaide. To Sky’s shock, he ends up falling in love with Sarah and, when he returns to New York, bets all the members of the crap game that if he wins his roll of the dice, they will have to go to a prayer meeting in the Mission. If he loses, he will give them each $1,000. Needless to say, the gamblers end up at the prayer meeting to repent their sins, with Nicely Nicely Johnson singing the famous Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat. But do the two couples finally get together in fine musical tradition?

Guys & Dolls is based on the stories of Damon Runyon – and many actors have played his larger than life toughies-with-a-heart-of-gold, characters with whimsical names, among them (on film) Bob Hope as the Lemon Drop Kid and Sorrowful Jones, Shirley Temple as Little Miss Marker and Bette Davis as Apple Annie. The musical first saw the light of day on Broadway in November, 1950. It was an instant hit, with a run of 1,200 performances netting more than $12m dollars and was hailed as one of the few masterworks of the American musical theatre. It won every award possible, ran for three years – and has been frequently revived ever since. The original cast included Vivian Blaine and Stubby Kaye (later to repeat their roles in the film starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons ). Curiously, the most popular song in the show, Bushel & A Peck, was dropped from the movie!

It is a show particularly admired by professional lyricists, as it brilliantly captures the original writer’s unique prose style and faithfully reproduces it in song. Only Lional Bart’s evocation of Dickens in Oliver has come even half way close to this achievement. It is the only musical that Sir Laurence Olivier ever wanted to appear in! Way back in the Sixties it was he who generated the idea of the National Theatre mounting a production of Guys & Dolls, in which he intended playing Nathan Detroit. Sadly, illness intervened and so what particular magic he might have brought to this role we shall never know. Happily though, the seed he planted eventually grew, when the National presented its first production starring Julia McKenzie and Bob Hoskins – 25 years later! Since then there have been many more successful productions, the latest being on Broadway, starring Nathan Lane and Peter Gallagher.

Guys & Dolls
Cast:
The Guys  
Sky Masterson Jimmy Brown
Nathan Detroit Roy Taylor
Nicely-Nicely Johnson Leon Parris
Benny Southstreet Mick Lacey
Lieutenant Brannigan Mark Rycraft
Arvide Abernathy Doug Dunkley
Harry The Horse Roy Northwood
Big Julie John Geerts
Rusty Charlie John Murray
Society Max Ron Liversage
Nightclub Singer Chris Dunkley
MC/Waiter/Drunk Dave Chapman
The Dolls  
Sarah Brown Samantha Barham
Miss Adelaide Tracy Butler
General cartwright Glynis Northwood
Sister Agatha Rosemary Gentry
Sister Martha Sandra Nightingale
Sister Ruth Gillian Shouler
Mimi Stephanie Munno
Hot Box Girls Charlotte Hope, Lucy Nightingale, Taf Steen, Lily Tighe
Chorus Pauline Adams, Dee Holland
   
Producer & Director Jan Clemens
 

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