I love attending live Broadway theater in New York City. So much so that it seems like only yesterday when I saw the last revival of Guys and Dolls on Broadway 17 years ago.
This Guys and Dolls has much to offer this time around. Allow me to explain folks.
Guys and Dolls takes place in New York City in the time of Damon Runyon. It tells the story of a dozen or so small-time gamblers and the "gals" in their lives. The Damon Runyon characters always depicted people that conveyed that they were from "Brooklyn" or maybe even "Mid-town Manhattan". You know, people that when they speak, often sound as if they are saying "New Yawk. Even the characters names in the show have lovingly "bigger than life" Damonesque names like "Nathan Detroit", "Big Jule", "Harry The Horse"-you see where this is going right? The names are funny to hear but then sort of make sense as I sat in the audience enjoying this show.
Guys and Dolls has a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows with music by Frank Loesser, a long-time favorite of Broadway. With wonderful and "fast moving" scenic design changes by Robert Brill, outstanding choreography in 2 scenes by Sergio Trujillo and "perfect" stage direction by Des McAuff, this Guys and Dolls is well suited to play at the newly refurbished Nederlander Theater for a long time to come.
So much talent has created this show. Still this Guys and Dolls is long on acting talent as well. Oliver Platt, one of my favorite movie actors plays Nathan Detroit, one of the 2 leading men in the show. Three yeras ago Mr. Platt received a Tony nomination for a Shining City. Guys and Dolls marks his return to the Broadway theater after many years in film.
Lauren Graham plays opposite Mr. Platt as Miss Adelaide in the show. She is best known for her role as Lorelai Gilmore in the television series called The Gilmore Girls. Guys and Dolls marks her Broadway stage debut. Not only does she command the stage presence in the show needed but she can sing up a storm and really handle the comedic role playing off of Mr. Platt as well. In the show, her character has been waiting for 14years to marry her Nathan Detroit. Kind of funny when you think about it but she manages to convey her deep love for him. There are lots of jokes about explaining this relationship to Adelaide's mother, who thinks the couple have been married all this time.
The role of Sky Masterson is played very capably by Craig Bierko. Mr. Bierko was seen on Broadway in The Music Man a few years ago. He received Tony, Outer Critic's Circle and Drama Desk nominations as well for The Music Man. His list of television credits is long having appeared in "Nip/Tuck", "Sex and the City", "Boston Legal" and "Unhitched". Film credits include "The Cinderella Man", "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and many more.
Kate Jennings Grant plays Sarah Brown in the role of a local missionary worker who falls for Sky Masterson. This is her first Broadway musical and has previously been seen on Broadway in Proof, An American Daughter and The Marriage of Bette and Boo. She has numerous Off Broadway credits. Also film credits that include United 93 and When A Stranger Calls and will soon be seen on TV this season in "Damages" in a reoccurring role.
The original Guys and Dolls played for about 3 years on Broadway in 1950. I had the opportunity to see the first revival in 1992 with Nathan Lane and Faith Prince. Both runs of the show played about 3 years. I've seen most of the Broadway productions so far this season and see this show as becoming one of the more popular.
Although I've seen allot, with a few modest changes and simple tweaking and tightening of the way the characters play off of one another during these "preview" performances, the old fashioned "boy meets girl" story line coupled with the talented cast of Damon Runyon New York characters, and I think the critics should treat this production very well.
For my money, I give it a "two thumbs up". Guys and Dolls should play well to the New York crowd as well as our very important theaer-going group- the out-of-towners that most often want to see a good "old-time", solid Broadway show.
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