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BELOW: The cast of "Guys and Dolls in Concert" features, from left, Deanna Jelardi as Miss Adelaide, Steve Russell as Nathan Detroit, Clayton Howe as Sky Masterson and Rebecca Edmunds as Sarah Brown.
Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia will close the 2011-12 Lake Shore Savings Season in grand style with the concert version of a work considered by many to be the “perfect musical comedy.”
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“Guys and Dolls in Concert,” the university’s 21st annual Commencement Eve Pops Concert, will be presented on Friday, May 11 at 8 p.m. in King Concert Hall.
Maestro Glen Cortese will lead the Western New York Chamber Orchestra and a cast of talented student performers in a concert version of this oddball romantic comedy. More than 20 student vocalists will take part, including 11 in featured roles.
The Commencement Eve Pops production is produced by Rockefeller Arts Center Director Jefferson Westwood and is directed by Tom Loughlin, chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance.
As the concert version, the production features all the musical numbers from “Guys and Dolls” in running order with the connecting dialogue that tells the story. However, there will be no scenery or props.
“This is a chance to enjoy the musical numbers and the storyline from what many people consider the perfect musical comedy,” Mr. Westwood said. “This is different than anything we’ve done before for the Commencement Eve Pops.”
The show’s vivid characters (slick, high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson, the chronically ill nightclub performer Adelaide, and her devoted fiancé Nathan Detroit) populate a New York City of days gone by, telling the story through a series of tuneful numbers including “Luck be a Lady Tonight,” “If I Were a Bell,” “Take Back Your Mink” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”
Billed as “A Musical Fable of Broadway,” “Guys and Dolls in Concert” is based on a story and characters by Damon Runyon (1880 – 1946). An American newspaper man and author, Runyon is best known for his short stories of the world of Broadway in the prohibition era of the 1920s. His stories were humorous in nature, filled with the colorful slang of the era and featuring gamblers, hustlers, gangsters and actors. “Guys and Dolls” is based on two Runyon works – “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure.”
The music and lyrics for “Guys and Dolls” are by Frank Loesser and the book is by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows.
“Guys and Dolls” made its Broadway debut in 1950 and ran for 1,200 performances. It won five Tony Awards, including best musical. The original Broadway production was directed by George S. Kaufman, co-author of “Stage Door,” which was just presented at SUNY Fredonia by the Department of Theatre and Dance.
In 1955, a film version was released starring Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit, Jean Simmons as Sarah and Vivian Blaine as Adelaide.
“Guys and Dolls” has had several Broadway revivals since its debut in 1950, with the most recent having been in 2009.
“Guys and Dolls in Concert” is a DFT Communications Pops Series event sponsored by the Fredonia and Silver Creek Penny Savers.
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