By PAM JOHNSON
Mark your calendars now to see the romantic musical comedy Guys and Dolls at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre, playing Aug. 29 through Sept. 15.
With memorable Frank Loesser songs such as “Adelaide’s Lament,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “Luck Be a Lady,” this show is a bundle of fun and energy that you don’t want to miss.
“Guys and Dolls is, at turns, hilarious and touching,” said Joe Gumina, who portrays the impulsive Sky Masterson. “The cast of characters is as bright and varied as the lights of Broadway.”
The hilarity begins when Sky — a fun loving, high-rolling gambler —unintentionally falls in love with prim and proper mission worker Sarah Brown, played by Catherine Squibb. Their unlikely story overlaps the turbulent romance of another mismatched pair: the endearing rascal Nathan Detroit (Lucas Schmidt) — who runs a famous floating craps game — and his loyal but long-suffering fiancé Miss Adelaide (Heather Allen), a headliner at the Hot Box Club.
The show follows the lives of these two couples through the streets of Manhattan to the dance clubs of Havana to the sewers of New York City. As the story unfolds on stage, these colorful characters’ hopes, aspirations, misunderstandings, and triumphs will touch a chord with today’s audience.
“Though Guys and Dolls is set in New York City during the post-depression era,” explained director Joe Smith, ‘the dreams and goals of the characters are similar to the dreams and goals we have today. We see men and women who are trying to make the ‘big time,’ to succeed in life, to find new opportunities, or to simply fall in love.”
“It is relevant today,” added Catherine Squibb, “because underneath it all, there is the classic lesson that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a heartwarming story that examines the different relationships that we all find ourselves in at one time or another.”
Audience members may be a little surprised to find themselves cheering for gamblers, rooting for gangsters, and charmed by showgirls and salsa dancers. But go ahead and applaud, because down deep, we really all just want the same thing: happiness.
“This show is often considered one of the finest musical comedies ever written,” said music director Shawn Hale, who also portrays Nicely-Nicely Johnson. “It is full of dazzling costumes and great songs that are unforgettable.”
“If big, brassy, show-stopping numbers are your thing,” added Gumina, “this show is sure to leave a smile on your face.”
Guys and Dolls is written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. This production is directed by Joe Smith and assisted by Diane Taveau; music directed by Shawn Hale; and choreographed by Heather Allen. The JRT appreciates the show sponsors: Morningstar Farm, Chick-fil-A (West Market St.), Gary & Sandee Degner, and Sonia King/Mary B. Martin.
Rounding out the cast are Johnny Archer, Josh Baldwin, Annika Beatty, Stephen Cradic, Andrew Duncan, Janette Gaines, Ben Garber, Emma Garber, Kate Hollenbeck, Charles Landry, Bennett Little, Hannah Love, Kyle Mason, Tiffany Matthews, Jacob Maurer, Chris Pickens-Mitchell, Lilli Pickens-Mitchell, Jessie Scarbrough, Brooklynn Shelton, Jessica Shelton, Tom Sizemore, Don Squibb, Anna VanEaton, Joel VanEaton, and Lucas Wilcox.
Shows run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. (An interpreter will be provided for the deaf on Saturday, Sept 14, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for these select seats must be purchased by Aug 24.) To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to www.jonesboroughtheatre.com.