Guys and Dolls opens at CPIT on Saturday 23 June and you couldn’t find a show with a broader appeal according to director Angela Johnson.
Grandly billed as the ‘perfect musical’ when it first opened on Broadway in 1950, this hit musical went on to earn such lofty praise with an initial run of 1,200 performances and eight Tony awards. The film version starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine was the box-office hit of 1955. Subsequent revivals, including a major Broadway production in 1992, proved Guys and Dolls was as popular as ever.
Whether it is Frank Loesser’s catchy music and lyrics or Damon Runyon’s colourful characters that makes Guys and Dolls so appealing, this is nonetheless American musical theatre at its most unashamedly romantic and comical best.
National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) second year students are not phased by the show’s illustrious history as they tackle the endearing high-rollers, hapless gamblers and the long-suffering women of mid-twentieth century New York, Angela said.
“The students are doing as great job, meeting all the challenges head on, including the New York accents.”
As the gamblers negotiate get-rich-quick bets and their ‘dolls’ try to redeem them, central to the action is Sky Masterton’s quest, on a bet, to take ‘missionary doll’ Sister Sarah Brown to dinner with him in Cuba – with unexpected outcomes.
The show was chosen for its broad appeal and for the practical experience it could offer students as part of NASDA’s unique three-year Bachelor of Performing Arts (Music Theatre). “Guys and Dolls was chosen as a piece because it has rich characters and a specific style, both of which the students can explore. And of course it allows them to integrate acting, singing and dance,” Angela said.
Guys and Dolls is at NASDA Theatre, CPIT Madras St Campus, E Block, 23 to 28 June at 7.30pm. Tickets are selling fast - $18 ($12 for CPIT staff, seniors and students) available from www.ignition.ac.nz.
Caption: Andy Manning and Jordan Nicholson as Nathan and Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at CPIT.