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Adelaide (Fawn Ledesma) and Nathan Detroit (Justin Williams)

March 2, 2006

1950s Broadway is revived at Ashland High School in

&

145;Guys and Dolls&

There are two love stories woven into &

Guys and Dolls,&

the 1950 Broadway musical that Ashland High School Theatre is presenting tonight in its Mountain Theatre for a limited run. It is an event in which over 100 AHS students will participate. Directed by Bruce Hostetler, it promises to be a rich and rollicking revival.

You figure: What&

s likely to happen when Sky Masterson (Thomas Witt), a crap-shooting gambler, is maneuvered into accepting a $I,000 bet by fellow gambler, Nathan Detroit (Justin Williams) that he can make any doll, chosen by Nathan, fall in love with him. And the choice is Miss Sarah Brown (Shaeny Johnson), a pure-at-heart Salvation Army sergeant at the Save-A-Soul Mission, who is eager to perk up attendances. On the face of it, it looks like a sure thing for Nathan. But Sky is a resourceful guy and whisks Sarah off to Havana, just for dinner, though she learns that men are deceivers ever.

The musical, in fact, is an adaptation by Jo Swerling, a Hollywood scenarist, and Abe Burrows, a radio scriptwriter, of Damon Runyon&

s short story &

The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown,&

that incorporates certain characters, such as Harry the Horse, Angie the Ox, and Nicely Nicely Johnson from other of his stories.

Runyon (1884-1946), an American journalist, a noted sports writer for the New York American, also developed a racy style of reportage to recount the low-life of New York. His regional slang was termed Runyonese, and the exploits of his colorful characters Runyonesque. It is said he idolized pickpockets, regarded racketeers as friends, and loved money.

At the outset, I said there were two love stories. The second revolves around the said Nathan Detroit, organizer of the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York, and his doll, Adelaide (Fawn Ledesma), a night-club singer and dancer. She, after an engagement lasting 14 years, thinks it time they got spliced, as she holds forth in the acclaimed song &

Lament.&

The two dolls eventually team up and turn their commiseration into a duet of determination &

&

Marry the Man Today&

(and &

reform&

him after!).

— — —

Sarah Brown (Shaeny Johnson) and Sky Masterson (Thomas — Witt) are the lead characters in AHS&

production of Guys and — Dolls.

Even Laurence Olivier was seduced by &

Guys and Dolls.&

He planned to produce it at the Old Vic in London in 1970, himself playing Nathan, but unfortunately his coronary thrombosis ended the project.

Frank Loesser (1910-1969) wrote the wide ranging music and witty, idiomatic lyrics. Here are some of the 17 titles: &

Fugue for Tinhorns,&

&

I&

ll Know,&

&

A Bushel and a Peck&

(the most popular), &

If I Were A Bell,&

&

I&

ve Never Been In Love Before,&

&

Take Back My Mink,&

&

Luck Be A Lady,&

and &

Sit Down, You&

re Rockin&

the Boat&

(a bouncy revivalist anthem). What a feast! Loesser&

s first success was &

Where&

s Charley?&

(1948), followed by &

Guys and Dolls&

(1950), &

The Most Happy Fella&

(1956), and &

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying&

(1961).

Besides the score for &

Guys and Dolls,&

Loesser wrote a ballet to open the show affording a glimpse of Manhattan&

s unsavory netherworld &

pickpockets, chorus girls, sandwich men, and the like. This offers a great opportunity for Suzanne Seiber as choreographer. Russ Otte is again the musical director, with Holly Johnson directing the pit orchestra. And if the characters in the musical are colorful, so are their costumes. Chris Meyers, the costume designer, sees to that, using bold and vivid hues. The imaginative set design is by Jay Fenton; the lighting, by Doug Ham.

Apart from the principals, there are 15 featured players as follows: Taylor Sharpe, Josh Houghton, Tom Miner, Dylan Steeves, Travis Walker, Brian Ogden, Mikhail Pinyo, Mig Windows, Tucker Reed, Agnieszka Axer, Ally Backus, Briana Brasil, Raquel Kahn, Erika Perkinson, and Abby Young. That shows the depth of Ashland High&

s thespians.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on March 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11; one matinee only on March 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets available now at AHS Main Office, Paddington Station, and Tree House Books. For information call 482-8771 ext. 112.