The only real experience I’ve had with the musical Guys and Dolls, other than seeing the 1955 film with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, was my high school production in the early 90’s. My dance training kept me in the studio but at school I was an orchestra geek, playing the upright bass and auxiliary percussion in the pit. I loved being invisible yet an integral part of the high school musicals. Now everyone knew I was a serious dancer and got plenty of on stage experience, but when Guys and Dolls rolled around I thought maybe this was my chance to try my hand at acting. I practiced, I sang and I delivered lines hoping to get a beefy part, Adelaide perhaps. My heart pounding, I went to see the cast list. I was cast as…drumroll please… a Hot Box dancer. I guess my lot in life was already determined around 16 years of age. So I pulled on my fish net hose, character heals and double breasted pin striped jacket and did what I was trained for. Secretly wishing I had stuck with the orchestra, because the music is really great.
Premiering on Broadway in 1950, Guys and Dolls is thought to be amongst the great Broadway musicals. It is a play with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. The original Tony Award winning show was directed by George S. Kaufman, with dances and musical numbers by Michael Kidd. It has been revived on Broadway, in the West End and we get to enjoy it as it passes through Atlanta this weekend.
This production at the fabulous Fox Theater was a lot of fun. The story is driven by two couples. First is the underground gambling facilitator, Nathan Detroit and his burlesque dancer fiancé, Adelaide. Second is mission general, Sister Sarah Brown and high roller Sky Masterson. The plot thickens when Detroit (Steve Rosen) is looking for $1000 to set up a craps game, and he bets Masterson (Ben Crawford) that he will not be able to convince Sister Sarah (Erin Davie) to go to Havana with him. Through trickery and deceit and another bet, he was able to convince her to dine with him under the condition that he procures 12 real life sinners for an important mission meeting. The dinner just happened to be in Cuba.
In the process, the self-proclaimed bachelor Masterson falls in love.
Detroit has been engaged to Adelaide for 14 years. A remarkable performance by Megan Sikora, All
Adelaide wants is for her guy to marry her. To make matters worse, she told her mother that she’s been married with five kids for several years. This lie has caused so much stress she constantly has a cold. My favorite part of the whole play was her rendition of “Adelaide’s Lament”.
Intertwined into these two plots, there was lots of gambling, lies and the mission was invaded by sinners. In the end, love won out and wedding bells rang.
So if you need your theater fix this weekend, go see Guys and Dolls at the Fox Theater in downtown Atlanta. Show playing now and through Sun. Aug. 21st.