Gallery Players will present Guys & Dolls as the third show in its 67th season which continues to transport audiences to New York City as this season’s theme.
Sixty-six years after making its debut on Broadway, Guys & Dolls still packs a punch, says director of Gallery Players production, Mark Mann. “Every joke still lands, all the songs still thrill, and so the challenge is to live up to the high standard of the material.”
Mann works at Dublin Hoffman High School and free-lances as an actor and director. He has been acting in Columbus since the 1990s and this is his sixth time directing for Gallery Players. Most recently, Mann directed the Gallery Players production of Brighton Beach Memoirs for which he just won the Theatre Roundtable award for Directing a Play. He said his reasons for wanting to direct Guys & Dolls were simple: “What’s not to love? [There’s] singing, dancing, comedy, all from the center of the golden era of the American musical!”
“I haven’t felt compelled to [reimagine Guys & Dolls], necessarily, but there are a few twists in it that reflect my sense of humor, maybe a little more irony than the original, a little more silliness as well,” says Mann about directing the timeless musical. “But I told the cast on the first day of rehearsals that this is a big, old-fashioned, and splashy musical… Let’s sort of celebrate that.”
Adapted from the work of Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys & Dolls takes place in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City. The oddball romantic comedy follows gambler Nathan Detroit as he tries to set up the biggest craps game in town, while his girlfriend, nightclub performer Adelaide, laments their 14-year engagement. Nathan turns to fellow gambler Sky Masterson for the dough, but Sky ends up chasing the straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown. Guys & Dolls takes the audience from the heart of Times Square to the sewers of Manhattan, but eventually everyone ends up right where they belong.
“Guys & Dolls exists in a fantasy world New York, a world that only exists between the rise and fall of the curtain,” says Mann, “And I hope the audience is happy to have spent an evening there.”
Guys & Dolls opens Feb. 27 and runs through March 13 in the Roth/Resler Theater at the College Avenue JCC. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Visit jccgalleryplayers.org for more information and to purchase tickets.
Gallery Players is underwritten by the Lenore Schottenstein and Community Jewish Arts Fund of the Columbus Jewish Foundation.