The new U.S. tour of Guys and Dolls, which stars Maurice Hines and is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright — who both created this revival at Arena Stage in 2000 — officially begins a 50-city schedule at the Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center in Virginia Aug. 28-Sept. 2.
The Eisenhower Theatre in West Point, NY, "up the river" from Manhattan, hosted a two-day sneak-peek of shows Aug. 25-26, prior to the Wolf Trap tour kickoff in Vienna, VA. Brian Sutherland and Diane Sutherland (who are married off-stage) play high-stakes gambler Sky Masterson and Save-A-Soul mission worker Sarah Brown, respectively, in the classic musical comedy by songwriter Frank Loesser and librettists Abe Burrows & Jo Swerling. Alexandra Foucard (Broadway's Les Miserables) gets the choice role of Adelaide, the long- suffering fiancee of gambler Nathan Detroit, played by Hines. The four principals created their roles in DC.
Ken Roberson is choreographer. There is a hope from the producers that this multi-racial Guys and Dolls, first seen at the nonprofit Arena Stage in Washington, DC, will find a Broadway berth in 2002.
Foucard previously told Playbill On-Line that Jo Sullivan Loesser, Frank Loesser's widow, saw the Arena staging and expressed her wish that the Arena cast tour with the show and eventually play it in New York. "I have had the honor and the privilege to see many productions of Guys and Dolls, but this version comes the closest I have witnessed to the definitive production," Jo Loesser said in a statement. "The phenomenal company is as diverse as the high-rolling characters that enliven the vivid streets of New York."
The 1950 musical is drawn from the stories and characters of Damon Runyon, chronicler of the lost souls of New York's underbelly — gamblers, drunks, showgirls, charity workers and dreamers. The score includes "Luck Be a Lady," "I'll Know," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," "Adelaide's Lament," "If I Were a Bell," "I've Never Been in Love Before" and more. Hines began his career at the age of five as a dancer alongside his brother, Gregory, and, later, his father. His Broadway credits include appearances in Eubie!, Bring Back Birdie and Sophisticated Ladies. Tony Award-nominated for Uptown...It's Hot!, Hines went on to direct Satchmo, Harlem Suite and become the first African-American director for Radio City Music Hall.
The Sutherlands appeared together in Indiana Repertory Theatre's spring staging of Enter the Guardsman. Diane Sutherland's former stage name was Diane Fratantoni. She appeared in the Roundabout Broadway staging of She Loves Me (and is heard on the cast album). Brian Sutherland toured in the Hal Prince revival staging of Cabaret as Cliff. He also appeared in Roundabout's 1776 and New York City Opera's 110 in the Shade.
The tour cast, somewhat changed from the DC original, includes Clent Bowers as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Lawrence Redmond (Benny Southstreet), Carlos Lopez (Harry the Horse), Curt M. Buckler (Big Jule), Tad Ingram (Arvide Abernathy), Michael W. Howell (Rusty Charlie), Cathy Carey (Agatha), Ryan Blanchard (Angie the Ox), Liza Shaller (Mimi), Donna Migliaccio (General Cartwright), P.J. Terranova (Drunk) and Paul DePasquale (Lt. Brannigan). The ensemble includes Tiffany Cooper, Johanna Gerry, David Kent, Jessica Rizzo, Danita Salamida, Scott Schmidt, Keith Lamelle Thomas and Gary E. Vincent.
Tour producers are Richard Martini, Jonathan Reinis, Adam Friedson, Allen Spivak and Albert Niccolino. Designers are Norbert Kolb (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Michael Gilliam (lighting).
Dates through the end of 2001 include Merriam Theatre in Philadelphia (Sept. 11-16), Shea's Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y. (Sept. 19-23), Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee (Sept. 25-30), The Bushnell in Hartford (Oct. 3-7), Fisher Theatre in Detroit (Oct. 9-28), Shubert Theatre in New Haven (Oct. 30-Nov. 4), New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ. (Nov. 6-11), Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, NC (Nov. 13-18), Lyric Opera House in Baltimore (Nov. 20-25), Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady, NY (Nov. 27-Dec. 2), Oriental Theatre Ford Center in Chicago (Dec. 4-16), DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids, MI (Dec. 26 30).
The most recent production of Guys and Dolls to play Broadway was the 1992 Tony-winning effort directed by Jerry Zaks. That show catapulted Nathan Lane and Faith Prince to their current level of stage stardom. A cast album and national tour were spawned.
There was an African-American-cast Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls starring Robert Guillaume in 1976. A cast album exists.
The original cast in 1950 included Robert Alda (Sky), Isabel Bigley (Sarah), Sam Levene (Nathan) and Vivian Blaine (Adelaide). Blaine recreated her role in the film version that starred Jean Simmons, Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra.
— By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson