When “Guys & Dolls” premiered on Broadway in 1950, it set the theater scene on fire, taking home a Tony Award for best musical and running for nearly four years.
Written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, it boasts an unforgettable score by Frank Loesser, with songs like “Luck Be a Lady,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “Marry the Man Today.”
The popular musical has been reprised several times on Broadway and in London and even spurned a 1955 movie adaptation starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.
“Guys & Dolls” will be staged by the Wilton Playshop under the direction of Lynne Colatrella, with choreography and musical staging by Lauren Nicole Sherwood and musical direction by Zachary Kampler from April 26-May 11.
The musical comedy visits the world of Manhattan in Damon Runyon’s short stories, and follows two unlikely romances — one between illegal crap game promoter Nathan Detroit and his long-suffering fiancé, Adelaide, a perky nightclub singer who seems forever inflicted with a cold; and the charismatic gambler Sky Masterson and proper missionary Sarah Brown. The latter is sparked by a bet between the two men that Sky can’t take her to Havana on a date.
Colatrella was first introduced to the musical as a child when her father played Nathan at a theater in Stamford.
“I just loved the show and loved seeing him in the role,” she said. “I did Adelaide myself in Greenwich at the Connecticut Playmakers and did it again at Curtain Call. It’s a character I loved playing and I love all the characters in the show. It’s great fun and real musical theater.”
She also directed the show previously at Westhill High School in 2002 and Sean Pultz, who played Lt. Brannigan when he was a student will reprise his role in this production as well.
“The music of this show stands the test of time. It’s the kind of songs that people always go out of the theater singing,” Colatrella said. “I think the comedy is really relevant. It still makes you laugh. It draws people back to Time Square in the ’50s when people were trying to save the souls of people who were doing something bad like gambling.”
The real-life husband-and-wife team of Joe and Jenna Colavito take on the roles of Sky and Sarah, and although the couple has done numerous productions together, this is the first time their characters are romantically linked.
“We have done eight shows together, but we’ve never played opposite each other before and that’s always been a goal for us,” Jenna said. “We started performing together in college and we’ve done shows like ‘Elf’ and ‘Les Miserables’ and it’s been a theater bucket list item to play a couple as rooted in American musicals as Sky and Sarah are.”
Joe grew up listening to a lot of Sinatra and even though the legendary singer played Nathan in the movie, he feels he should have been Sky, and he sings in his style to bring out the suaveness of Sky.