By Mary Boyle
Since its premier on Broadway in 1950, Guys & Dolls became, perhaps, America's best-loved musical. Based on the New York underground themed short stories by Damon Runyun written in the 20's and 30's, the musical, written by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, won the Tony Award in 1951, and inspired the 1955 film of the same name, starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine. Now, Guys & Dolls makes its way to The Milwaukee Repertory Theater's stage to kick off their 64th Season in grand style.
Were it necessary to describe this musical in one word, that word would be "fun." Guys & Dolls is the timeless entertainment of boy meets girl at the intersection of high brow and low brow; a combination of great storytelling and unforgettable music that leaves no doubt as to why this particular piece has enjoyed such enduring popularity over the past 67 years.
Audiences are bound to find at least one familiar song within the musical. Guys & Dolls brought us the ever-popular "A Bushel and a Peck," as well as "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," each of which is not only sung by a very talented cast, but well choreographed by Stephen Mear.
Directed by Mark Clements, Guys & Dolls is The Rep's 8th large-scale musical to be staged in the Quadracci Theater, and features a mix of Milwaukee's favorite actors, as well as some new faces to The Rep's stage. Michael J. Farina and Matt Daniels, who both appeared in last season's Man of La Mancha, are well-cast as Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Lieutenant Brannigan, respectively. Milwaukee Rep favorite, Kelly Faulkner, was born to be Miss Adelaide. Similarly, Emma Rose Brooks, who also appeared in Man of La Mancha, was destined to be Sarah Brown. Richard R. Henry is new to The Rep as the lovable Nathan Detroit, and so is Nicholas Rodriguez, who plays the suave and handsome Sky Masterson. Andrew Varela, who was seen last season in Sweeny Todd at Skylight, makes his Rep debut as Big Jule.
The Rep made a wise choice, all around, for this opener. Singing, dancing, comedy, romance - Guys & Dolls has it all, in spades! This is the musical for people who don't like musicals; a perfect production to drag your reluctant theater-goer to, but equally perfect for a musical theater junkie. Don't miss it!
Guys & Dolls runs through October 29th at the Quadracci Theater, located at 108 E. Wells Street in Milwaukee. Tickets are available online at https://www.milwaukeerep.com, at the Ticket Office at 108 E. Wells, or by calling (414) 224-9490. There are a number of Community Events, including Workshops and TalkBacks, in conjunction with the performance, which can be found at: www.milwaukeerep.com/Tickets--Events/Events/
About Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Milwaukee Rep is a nationally-recognized company that presents compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works and full-scale musicals housed in its three unique performance venues: the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio, and Stackner Cabaret. The Rep also produces an annual production of A Christmas Carol, featuring a World Premiere of a new adaptation in 2016 at the historic Pabst Theater. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Managing Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee's rich diversity.