Wellington Operatic Society will bring one of musical theatre’s great shows to The Wellesley when their production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ reaches the stage on Wednesday 10 May, running until Saturday 13 May.
Director Nancy Powell Brace has assembled a cast full of Op Soc’s fine and varied talent – and added more from beyond the local community of thespians who are travelling to rehearsals from as far away as Bristol. This is Nancy’s third production of the show, the last being in San Francisco in 2005.
The narrative is based on Damon Runyon’s colourful short stories of 1920’s New York lowlife – gamblers, hustlers and gangsters – who, as a result of a bet, come into contact with a group of strait-laced, god-fearing evangelists. With Frank Loesser’s brilliant score adding classics such as ‘Luck Be A lady’, ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat’ and ‘If I Were a Bell’ amongst the musical numbers the show’s repeated success on stages big and small from the 1950’s right through to the present is not difficult to understand. There are atmospheric locations too – Times Square, New York’s sewers, Havanna clubs – to add visual pizzazz.
Runyon’s characters present alluring opposites. Suave gambler Sky Masterson tricks Miss Sarah Brown of Manhattan’s Save-a-Soul Mission into a romantic weekend in Cuba – and falls in love; commitment-phobic con man Nathan Detroit is tricked into finally making earnest Hot Box cabaret singer Miss Adelaide an honest woman. Around them there are a gallery of colourful characters, drawn from the gaudy street-life of 1920s downtown Manhattan set alongside the earnest, bible bashing missionaries.
Op Soc has a fine record of bringing big musicals to the stage. The company’s most recent hits include ‘Oliver’, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, ‘South Pacific’ and ‘Sugar’ so it’s no surprise that tickets are reported to be selling fast, with few left on some nights. Nancy Powell Brace and her company are ready to really rock the boat at The Wellesley and deserve every seat in the house to be taken.
Box Office: Online at Wellington Arts Association website or from Odette’s Tea Rooms, High Street, Wellington.