• Pamela Froman

Guys and Dolls

It's 1949 and Broadway, New York is swarming with gangsters and gamblers, dames and dolls alike. It's the world imagined in “Guys and Dolls.” This fun-filled musical is based on a story by Damon Runyon with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows.

The action begins with the hustle and bustle of New York City. Nathan Detroit (Will Shupe) is trying to put together an illegal floating crap game. Shupe is hilarious as the down on his luck gambler who's just itching for the next big score.

With faith on their agenda, the Save-a-Soul Mission, led by the pious and beautiful Sergeant Sarah Brown (Amanda Greig) enter the fray, as they call for sinners to “Follow the Fold” and repent. Greig has a stunning voice, and her turn as the ultra conservative Sarah is truly a ride on the holy roller!

Policeman Lt. Brannigan (William Perry) is putting on the heat for Nathan. There is only one spot to hold the crap game: the “Biltmore garage.” But its owner requires a $1,000 and Nathan is broke. What to do? Make a bet!

Nathan bets $1,000 against Sky Masterson (Kevin Ellis), a gambler who will wager on anything. Nathan proposes a bet he cannot lose: Sky must take a woman of Nathan's choice to dinner in Havana, Cuba. Sky agrees, and Nathan chooses Sarah. Ellis is masterful in his execution, with an amazing voice and stage presence. We root for Sky, but we like Nathan too. Both gamblers are incorrigible but sweet.

Sky offers Sarah a deal: He will bring the mission “one dozen genuine sinners” if she will accompany him to Havana. But Sarah is not that easily won over, and when he steals a kiss, she slaps him.

Nathan goes to watch his fiancée of 14 (!) years, Adelaide (Dawn Michelle in an unforgettable fun-filled turn), perform her nightclub act. After wards, she asks him to get a marriage license. When Nathan makes excuses she tells him that she has been sending her mother letters for twelve years claiming that they are married with six kids. Nathan's reaction is priceless!

Adelaide consults a medical book, which tells her that her chronic cold is a psychosomatic reaction to her frustration with Nathan. After all, as she belts out, “a person can develop a cold.”

General Cartwright (Anne Frankl) the leader of Save-a-Soul, visits the mission and says she will be forced to close them unless they succeed in bringing some sinners. Sarah promises the General “one dozen genuine sinners,” accepting Sky's deal.

The gamblers, including a notorious gangster from Chicago named Big Jule (Scott Gilbert – and yep the name fits, he sure is big), are waiting for Nathan to secure the game, and Lt. Brannigan becomes suspicious. To convince him of their innocence, they tell Brannigan their gathering is Nathan's bachelor party.

In Havana, Sky buys a drink and a “Cuban milkshake” for Sarah. She doesn't realize that the drink contains rum, and becomes tipsy. Sarah and Sky spontaneously admit their feelings with “I've Never Been in Love Before.”

Then the gamblers run out of the mission, where Nathan has been holding the crap game! And that crap game lasts for hours thanks to sore loser Big Jule who to change his luck uses his own blank dice. This causes Nathan to stand Adelaide up – again.

Sky, determined to get the dozen sinners he promised Sarah, bets everyone at the game a thousand dollars against their souls. The famous song “Luck Be a Lady” has us singing along as he rolls the dice.

Sarah and Adelaide resolve to marry their men and reform them later with the cute “Marry the Man Today.” Several weeks later, Sky and Sarah have just been married, and Adelaide and Nathan are about to get married. Sky tells Nathan odds are he will be very happy.

Guys and Dolls runs through December 9 at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, located at 3050 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. For more information call (805) 583-7900 or log onto

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