NEW PALTZ -- NEW PALTZ "Guys and Dolls," among the best loved musical comedies of all time, will turn McKenna Theatre at SUNY New Paltz into a fantasy of 1940s New York. Here, dreamy chorus girls chase flashy gamblers and love and marriage hinge on a roll of the dice. It all takes place over two weekends, October 3-13, 2002.
Adapted for the stage from Damon Runyon's classic short story, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown," "Guys and Dolls" tells the tale of a prim Salvation Army missionary swept into an unlikely romance with tinhorn crap shooter Sky Masterson. Meanwhile, the gambler's sidekick, Nathan Detroit, woos his long-suffering girlfriend, the brassy-but-sentimental Miss Adelaide.
Many of Frank Loesser's original songs from the show have become American classics, including "Luck Be A Lady" "Adelaide's Lament" "Marry the Man Today," and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat." That music and the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows helped elevate Guys and Dolls into a mythic New York fable about Times Square as the nexus of the city where sailors might embrace wartime brides and gamblers rolled dice in the streets.
"There are a number of reasons why 'Guys & Dolls' continues to be so popular with contemporary audiences," said Frank Trezza, chair of the SUNY New Paltz Theatre Department. "The funny, delightful characters from Damon Runyon's short stories and the innovative score by Frank Loesser are still captivating after all these years. They are timeless and certainly contribute in large measure to the play's stature as an American classic.
"In addition," Trezza continues, "there is an aspect of the piece that seems particularly important for us today. Runyon and Loesser each had a lifelong love affair with New York City and this love for New York informs almost every scene in the play. 'Guys and Dolls' is, in many ways, a celebration of the city. Indeed, the cityscape is itself a character in the play. To be sure, Times Square in 'Guys and Dolls' is shown almost mythologically, as an enchanted vision. But as the world has turned its attention to New York City over the last year, this is a vision that seems particularly resonant at the moment."
Trezza directs the ambitious production with 41 student performers and a 16-member live orchestra. Collaborators include music director and conductor Stephen Kitsakos; and new faculty member Valerie St. Pierre, a costume designer from San Diego. Their work compliments that of choreographer Yoav Kaddar, lighting designer John Wade, and Ray Schilke, a Tony Award-winning sound designer based in New Paltz.
Scenic designer Liming Tang has created a classic drop and wing set, faithful to the original Broadway show, but painted in a style that turns 42nd Street into a fanciful pop-up book.
"Guys and Dolls'" performance dates coincide with the SUNY New Paltz Alumni Reunion Weekend (October 4-6), and on Saturday, October 5 at 2:30 p.m., current cast members will join past Nathan Detroits, Adelaides, Sarah Browns and Sky Mastersons from SUNY New Paltz productions in 1986 and 1965 for a free-wheeling afternoon of singing, laughter and memories. The public is invited to this free event, and a reception follows in the McKenna Theatre lobby.
"Guys and Dolls" is performed on October 3-5 and 10-12, 2002, at 8 p.m. Matinees are October 6 and 13, 2002 at 2 p.m. All performances are in McKenna Theatre, which is wheelchair accessible and equipped with an infrared listening system for the hearing impaired.
Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students. The Department of Theatre Arts has a new subscription series with packages that offer reduced rates, from 20 to 40 percent off, on tickets for all five productions in the 2002-2003 season. In addition, subscribers receive priority seating and exchange privileges. To order tickets call the SUNY New Paltz box office at 845-257-3880.
Photos of the production are available at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/quartet150-09-02.html.
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