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What could be more fun than seeing the Tony Award-winning musical Guys and Dolls? How about seeing it in an enchanting production at the Bridge Theatre? In February 2023, audiences will get to see this classic Broadway show in London’s vibrant East End.

The musical Guys and Dolls feature a script by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, as well as music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. It is based on Damon Runyon’s short stories “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” (1933) and “Blood Pressure” and also incorporates characters and story points from other Runyon stories, such as “Pick the Winner.”

Guys and Dolls feature the antics of a group of gamblers who have always found success by placing bets on the romantic endeavors of their fellow man and woman, with hilarious results.

Brief Background

Producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin conceived the idea to make Guys and Dolls into a collection of short stories by Damon Runyon. These stories, written in the 1920s and 1930s, featured gangsters, gamblers, and other notorious figures from New York.

Runyon was renowned for his distinctive dialect in his writings, fusing slang and extremely formal diction. The composer and lyricist selected were Frank Loesser, who had spent the majority of his career writing lyrics for motion picture musicals.

Director George S. Kaufman was hired for the project. Feuer and Martin requested Abe Burrows, a writer for radio comedies, to rewrite the show’s book after Jo Swerling’s original draft of the show’s dialogue was considered unsatisfactory.

Original Broadway production, 1950

Original Broadway actors Vivian Blaine, Sam Levene, and Isabel Bigley appeared in the 1950 Broadway production of the New York Mirror “Theatre-Ticket Ordergram” at the 46th Street Theatre, Guys and Dolls.

The performance made its pre-Broadway debut on Saturday, October 14, 1950, at the Shubert Theater in Philadelphia. On November 24, 1950, the musical made its Broadway debut at the 46th Street Theatre (now known as the Richard Rodgers Theatre).

It was directed by George S. Kaufman, with choreography by Michael Kidd, musical pieces by Ted Royal and George Bassman, costumes by Alvin Colt, and scenic and lighting design by Jo Mielziner. Herbert Greene provided the vocal arrangements.

First UK production in 1953

A few days before the 1953 Coronation, on May 28, 1953, the London Coliseum hosted the world premiere of Guys and Dolls. The show ran for 555 performances and a Royal Command Variety Performance for Queen Elizabeth on November 2, 1953.

2009 revival on Broadway

The show’s Broadway revival debuted at the Nederlander Theatre on March 1, 2009. Oliver Platt played Nathan Detroit in the production, Lauren Graham played Adelaide in her Broadway debut, Craig Bierko played Sky, and Kate Jennings Grant played Sarah. The choreographer was Sergio Trujillo, while Des McAnuff served as the director. In this show version, the 1940s were used as the setting instead of the 1950s, and Damon Runyon was featured as a silent character.

The UK’s 2017–2018 all-black production

The first all-black production of Guys and Dolls in the UK was staged in 2017 by Talawa Theatre Company and Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. The play debuted on December 2, 2017, and after an extension, it ran at Manchester’s Royal Exchange until February 27, 2018. The cast included Lucy Vandi as Miss Adelaide, Abiona Omonua as Sarah Brown, Ashley Zhangazha as Sky Masterson, and Ray Fearon as Nathan Detroit.

London revival, 2023

The Bridge Theatre in London will debut a brand-new immersive show on February 27, 2023, and it will run until September 2, 2023. Nicholas Hytner will direct it, Arlene Phillips will choreograph it, and Bunny Christie will design it. Casting has not yet been made public.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a night of romance and hilarity, then be sure to head to the Bridge Theatre starting in February 2023, where they will be staging the classic musical Guys and Dolls. Tickets will become  available at Cheapo Ticketing.

Don’t miss out on this enchanting production by grabbing your tickets!