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GUYS AND DOLLS (article first published : 2007-11-25)

Hailed as the all-time “perfect comedy musical”, Guys and Dolls opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York on November 24, 1950. Five years later - after an incredible run of 1,200 performances - the story of a loveable bunch of New York petty criminals and professional gamblers was transformed to the silver screen. Starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine and Jean Simmons, the movie was an instant box-office hit.

Featuring an unbeatable score, toe-tapping standards, wonderfully quirky characters, a hilarious script and an enchanting love story, Guys and Dolls clearly hit all the right notes with theatre and movie audiences across the world.

Now it’s Durban’s opportunity to enjoy the magic of one of the greatest of all Broadway musicals. Presented by BGM Productions, by arrangement with Dalro, Guys and Dolls opens at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on December 1 to run over the festive season. Produced by 19-year-old theatre whiz kid, Bradley Marshall, and directed by theatre stalwart Catherine Mace, the show features a talented cast of local actors, singers, dancers and musicians.

While his age and relative inexperience in the theatre world raises eyebrows, Marshall is not fazed by the challenge of producing an internationally acclaimed musical. “I do get scared when I have to consider the budget, but I think my confidence comes from being on stage from the moment I could talk,” he says. “I did three youth mentorship productions with Themi Venturas and, during my last four years at school, I was in the Unilever Young Performers shows. Earlier this year I was on the production team for Annie which really gave me good grounding. While I have been on stage singing, dancing and acting, I feel very comfortable on the ‘other side’. I’ve also been lucky to have the support of an incredible team of seasoned professionals.”

Bradley Marshall boasts that he has “a winning team” with Catherine Mace, Mark Hawkins (choreographer), Callie Thomson (music director), Andrew Verster (costumes), Michael Broderick (lighting design) and Charon Williams-Ross (vocal director).

The cast is headed by Janna Ramos-Violante (Adelaide), Donnagh Roberts (Sarah), Quincey Fynn (Nathan) and Lyle Buxton (Sky). Also in the cast Clive Gumede, Liam Magner, Iain Robinson, Michael Gritten and “Hot Box” dancers Denya Maslen, Londiwe Dhlomo, Janine Bennewith and Pamela Grey.

Guys and Dolls runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from December 1, 2007, to January 6, 2008. Tickets R110 (R80 at matinee performances only for pensioners and children under 12). Tickets R250 for a special performance on December 31 with snacks and champagne to welcome in the New Year. Booking is at Computicket.

There are two low-priced previews (R60) on November 28 and 29.




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