DRG Records releases the 50th anniversary cast recording of Guys and Dolls Nov. 6, representing the 2000 Arena Stage production that is currently on a national tour.
Maurice Hines, Alexandra Foucard, Brian Sutherland and Diane Sutherland star in the multi-racial revival directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. The staging began a 50-city schedule Aug. 28. The Sutherlands (who are married off-stage) play high stakes gambler Sky Masterson and Save-A-Soul mission worker Sarah Brown, respectively, in the classic 1950 musical comedy by songwriter Frank Loesser and librettists Abe Burrows & Jo Swerling. Foucard (Les Miserables) gets the choice role of Adelaide, the long-suffering fiancee of gambler Nathan Detroit (Hines). All four leads are heard on the disc. The new CD includes the added bonus of Loesser performing seven demos from the score, including the unused "Traveling Light," and "Adelaide," written for the film.
The four principals created their roles in DC for what was (and still is) billed as the 50th anniversary revival production.
Ken Roberson is choreographer. There is a hope from producers Richard Martini, Jonathan Reinis, Adam Friedson, Allen Spivak and Albert Niccolino that this unique Guys and Dolls will find a Broadway berth in 2002. *
Jo Sullivan Loesser, Frank Loesser's widow, saw the Arena staging and expressed her wish that the Arena cast tour 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 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.
Designers are Norbert Kolb (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Michael Gilliam (lighting).
Dates through the end of 2001 include 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