Gangsters have long been one of the most popular subjects of American plays, movies and books. Something about well-organized and profitable crime appeals to a person’s sense of greed, justice and adventure. Who wouldn’t want to have a part time job that pays full time wages and rewards creativity and cunning about complacency and monotony?
The only thing better than a play about gangsters is a play about singing and dancing gangsters. From March 10 to March 15, 2015, The Keller Auditorium will present Big League Production’s version of Frank Loesser classic musical, Guys and Dolls.
The play was originally performed on Broadway in 1950 and is based on the short stories, The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown and Blood Pressure by Damon Runyon. Mr. Runyon is known for his unique style of combining formal language with slang and the dialog in the play remains true to that style. Guys and Dolls won five major Tony Awards in 1951 and got positive reviews from every newspaper in town.
The story centers on Nathan Detroit, a small time Jewish gangster who runs a floating crap game in New York City. Nathan has a reputation for being the most reliable criminal in town, as he is always able to provide a place where gamblers can, “go broke in quiet and peace.” When the NYPD has a crackdown on gambling, Nathan realizes that he cannot have his game in any of his usual hideouts. He refuses to cancel the game in order to preserve his reputation. He discovers that he can use a local garage if he comes up with $1000. He realizes he needs a lot of money fast and making a bet of his own is the only way it can be obtained.
He runs in to the most successful gambler he knows, the handsome and suave Sky Masterson. Nathan bets Sky $1000 that he can’t take a virtuous young missionary named Sarah Brown to go to Havana with him on the first date. Sky makes the pure Sarah an offer she can’t refuse in order to get her to go, and the rest of the play deals with the consequences of Sarah’s decision.
The touring production stars Christopher Swan as Nathan, Matthew J. Taylor as Sky and Kayleen Seidl as Sarah. Mr. Swan is a familiar face on the touring company circuit, having performed in Damn Yankees! and A Christmas Story. Mr. Taylor has performed leading roles in both The Music Man and Oklahoma. The production marks Ms. Seidl’s national tour debut.
One of the show’s most famous musical numbers is Adelaide’s Lament in which Nathan’s showgirl love interest discusses the disadvantages of being a perpetual fiancé and never a bride. She sings and sneezes her way through a book about the psychosomatic symptoms of being in such a predicament, realizing that a “person can develop a cold,” from pure anxiety. Ms. Adelaide will be played by Lauren Weinberg.
Guys and Dolls will be performed at 7:30 p.m. from Wednesday, March 10 to Saturday, March14. There will be a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday. On Sunday there will be a matinee performance at 1:00 p.m. and an evening show at 6:30 p.m. There will be an ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation available for the 7:30 p.m. performance on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Ticket prices start at $36.00.
Guys and Dolls has enjoyed many revivals in its long history. In 1955 it was made into a movie starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. The song, My Time of Day was left out of the celluloid production and replaced by the song, A Woman in Love. In 2013 20th Century Fox was in talks to produce a remake of the film, starring Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon Levitt. As of this writing, the suits have not made good on that threat.
Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Eliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.