FLASH FRIDAY: GUYS & DOLLS Gets Dolled Up For Carnegie Hall With A High Stakes Cast
Featuring a classic score overflowing with standards and a certain rat-a-tat syncopation and sassy style all its own, Frank Loesser's indelible musical comedy GUYS & DOLLS is one of the greatest musicals of all time and the incredibly exciting cast just announced for the upcoming Carnegie Hall concert is icing on the cake insofar as an ideal presentation of it - Nathan Lane as Nathan Detroit, Megan Mullally as Adelaide, Patrick Wilson as Sky Masterson and Sierra Boggess as Sarah Brown.
Doing It For Some Doll
"Luck Be A Lady". "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat". "Adelaide's Lament". "A Bushel And A Peck". "Sue Me". Sue Frank Loesser why don't we - what an unbelievable hit parade in one show! Truly, the hits never stop in GUYS & DOLLS - in more ways than one; and, neither do the great musical numbers! Yes, while the story itself may be rife with gangsters, showgirls and gamblers with a focus on some shady backroom dealings amidst the romance and revelry, GUYS & DOLLS is one of the most charming and seductive musical comedies ever written. Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling crafted a masterful panorama conceit from the various stories of satirist Damon Runyon - most notably, the short stories "Blood Pressure", "Pick The Winner" and "The Idyll Of Miss Sarah Brown", among others - and packed it to the brim with colorful personalities interacting and delectable dramatic and comedic situations for them to play. Few Broadway song-stacks boast as many hit tunes as GUYS & DOLLS does and it is rare to encounter a musical with a better book, yet the glories of GUYS & DOLLS thankfully extend exponentially beyond even the smart, sharp book and absolutely pristine score.
Although the original cast of GUYS & DOLLS under the expert, sure-handed direction of legendary Golden Age master director George S. Kaufman is hard to top - Robert Alda, Vivian Blaine, Sam Levene and Isabel Bigley as Nathan, Adelaide, Sky and Sarah, respectively - the subsequent productions of note for our purposes of discussion have also stacked the decks perilously high with top talent and major star wattage - that is, the 1955 and 1965 City Center revivals, the 1976 Broadway revival, the 1982 West End revival, the 1992 Broadway revival, the 1996 and 2005 West End revivals as well as the most recent 2009 Broadway revival, plus a Las Vegas mounting and a few more winners.
Of the major entertainers who have essayed the iconic central characters of the piece, GUYS & DOLLS counts Walter Matthau, Alan King, Robert Guillaume, Jack Jones, Bob Hoskins, Henry Goodman, Douglas Hodge and Oliver Platt among its memorable Nathan Detroits, while famous leading ladies who have spent a spell playing the part of Adelaide in the various major aforementioned productions include Helen Gallagher, Sheila MacRae, Julia McKenzie, Imelda Staunton, Faith Prince, Jane Krakowski and Lauren Graham. Additionally, Sky Masterson has seen the likes of Ray Shaw, Jerry Orbach, James Randolph, Ian Charleson, Peter Gallagher, Clarke Peters, Ewan McGregor and Craig Bierko don his well-heeled loafers, whereas saintly do-gooder Sarah Brown has been done by Leila Martin, Anita Gillette, Ernestine Jackson, Julie Covington, Josie de Guzman, Joanna Riding, Jenna Russell and Kate Jennings Grant. Of course, the much-loved 1955 film adaptation counts Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine, Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons as its quartet.
The stakes may be incredibly high, yet the fresh and fearless past performances given by all four of these major musical theatre stars now set for the four main roles in GUYS & DOLLS gives us every reason to bet the house that they will win the night come April of next year - even if the house happens to be Carnegie Hall!
Their Time Of Day
So, now, let's take a look at some of the highlights of GUYS & DOLLS over the years and sample some spectacular star turns that may give us a clue as to what we can expect from Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Patrick Wilson and Sierra Boggess in the Carnegie Hall concert next year.
First up, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin give specialty song "Nathan Detroit" their own inimitable spin.
View the classic trailer for 1955's feature film version of GUYS & DOLLS, featuring Ed Sullivan and many more!
Frank Sinatra performs the GUYS & DOLLS standard "Luck Be A Lady" as he and only he ever could.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Liza Minnelli star in this smashing GUYS & DOLLS salute from a 1980 TV special.
Check out the 1992 revival of GUYS & DOLLS, directed by Jerry Zaks and featuring Nathan Lane and Walter Bobbie.
Jane Krakowski performs earworm ditty "A Bushel And A Peck" in the 2005 West End revival.
See the Tony Awards performance from the 2009 Broadway revival cast, introduced by Oliver Platt and Lauren Graham.
Lauren Graham and Kate Jennings Grant duet on "Marry The Man Today" from that year's pre-show.
Peruse Megan Mullally in another Frank Loesser masterpiece, the 1995 revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING.
Sample this recent BBC Proms concert featuring Sierra Boggess showcasing GUYS & DOLLS as well as many other Golden Age hits.
Patrick Wilson shows off his gorgeous golden instrument with MY FAIR LADY's "On The Street Where You Live".
Lastly, Nathan Lane and Faith Prince knock a GUYS & DOLLS show-stopper straight out of the park. Wow!
As a special bonus, enjoy Australian superstar David Campbell giving his own unique solo spin to the GUYS & DOLLS opening trio "Fugue For Tinhorns", with some particularly hi-tech assistance.
So, what exactly is it about GUYS & DOLLS that has made it the musical theatre classic to last the test of time that it undoubtedly is and appears that it will remain for many decades to come, if not centuries? Furthermore, what is the precise element of the vast entertainment buffet it offers that most tickles your particular fancy? Is it the opportunities of major star turns? The fabulous score? The indescribably effervescent snap, crackle and pop of the book and its unforgettable characters? Perhaps it is just the overall delicious tone and jazzy style of it all? Whatever it may be, GUYS & DOLLS is a sure bet and a royal flush of the best Broadway has to offer - soon, with some of the most ideal players possible knocking the masterful material into the stratosphere! Carnegie Hall - next year. Bet on it.
From This Author Pat Cerasaro