Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls
Guys & Dolls
Guys and dolls.jpg
Original Cast Recording
Music Frank Loesser
Lyrics Frank Loesser
Book Jo Swerling
Abe Burrows
Basis The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown and "Blood Pressure" by Damon Runyon
Productions 1950 Broadway
1953 West End
1976 Broadway revival
1982 London revival
1992 Broadway revival
2005 West End revival
2008 Australia
2009 Broadway revival
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
(1982) Olivier for Outstanding Musical
Tony Award for Best Revival
Drama Desk Outstanding Revival
(2005) Olivier for Outstanding Musical

Guys and Dolls is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It is based on "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure", two short stories by Damon Runyon,[1] and also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick the Winner". Premiering on Broadway in 1950, the original production ran for 1200 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The musical has had several Broadway revivals as well as West End productions.

Abe Burrows wrote most of Guys and Dolls, replacing Jo Swerling. The play was selected as the winner for the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. However, because of Burrows' troubles with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Trustees of Columbia University, the award's advisory board, vetoed the selection, and no Pulitzer for Drama was awarded that year.[2]

A 1955 film adaptation starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.



Isabel Bigley, who played Sarah Brown in the original Broadway production of Guys and Dolls, wrote an article about the frustrations and accomplishments that took place throughout the creation of the musical. Among other things, she claimed that composer and lyricist Frank Loesser physically assaulted her for not singing his songs the way he believed she should. Loesser's daughter, Susan, wrote in her biography of her father, "During a tantrum that became a Broadway insiders' legend, he actually slapped Isabel Bigley in the face when she failed to sing his way. Like his [earlier] explosion with the chorus, his attack on Isabel was over in a flash."[3]

When Loesser suggested reprising some songs in the second act, director George S. Kaufman warned: "If you reprise the songs, we’ll reprise the jokes."[4]

A 50th-anniversary NPR retrospective on the making of the original Broadway production included Vivian Blaine's recollections of Miss Adelaide being created specifically to fit Blaine into the musical after Loesser decided she was ill suited to play the buttoned-up Sarah. In the same retrospective, host Scott Simon observed that "Adelaide's Lament" is "often considered a perfect comic song" and offered a clip of Broadway lyricist Fred Ebb's analysis of its appeal:

Here's a girl who's got a cold all through the play and she says she has a cold 'cause somebody isn't going to marry her. That's a very rich comic notion. And she's got these hilarious punch lines. You know, "if she's getting a kind of name for herself and the name ain't his; if she's tired of gettin' the fish eye from the hotel clerk." Every line in it is worth something. It means something; has impact. It has vitality. It has humor and charm and appropriateness. And I don't know how you can get much better than that.[5]


Original productions

The musical premiered on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre on November 24, 1950. It was directed by George S. Kaufman, with dances and musical numbers by Michael Kidd, scenic and lighting design by Jo Mielziner, costumes by Alvin Colt, and orchestrations by George Bassman and Ted Royal. It starred Robert Alda, Sam Levene, Isabel Bigley, and Vivian Blaine. The musical ran for 1,200 performances, winning five 1951 Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical. Decca Records issued the original cast recording on 78 rpm records, which was later expanded and re-issued on LP, and then transferred to CD in the 1980s.

The West End premiere opened at the London Coliseum on May 28, 1953 and ran for 555 performances. The cast starred Vivian Blaine, Sam Levene, Lizbeth Webb and Jerry Wayne.[6][7] Lizbeth Webb was the only major principal who was British and was chosen to play the part of Sarah Brown by Frank Loesser. The show has had numerous revivals and tours and has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions

New York City Center 1955, 1965 and 1966 revivals

New York City Center mounted short runs of the musical in 1955, 1965 and 1966. A production starring Walter Matthau as Nathan Detroit, Helen Gallagher as Adelaide, Ray Shaw as Sky and Leila Martin as Sarah had 31 performances, running from April 20 to May 1, and May 31 to June 12, 1955.[8][9]

Another presentation at City Center, with Alan King as Nathan Detroit, Sheila MacRae as Adelaide, Jerry Orbach as Sky and Anita Gillette as Sarah, ran for 15 performances from April 28 to May 9, 1965. A 1966 production, starring Jan Murray as Nathan Detroit, Vivian Blaine reprising her role as Adelaide, Hugh O'Brian as Sky, and Barbara Meister as Sarah, ran for 23 performances, from June 8 to June 26, 1966.[10]

1976 Broadway revival

Libretto and vocal book, Music Theatre International, rented out to the 1978 actors.

An all-black cast staged the first Broadway revival of the show, which opened on July 11, 1976 in previews, officially on July 21, at The Broadway Theatre. It starred Robert Guillaume as Nathan Detroit, Norma Donaldson as Miss Adelaide, James Randolph as Sky and Ernestine Jackson as Sarah Brown. Guillaume and Jackson were nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards, and Ken Page as Nicely-Nicely won a Theatre World Award.

This production featured Motown-style musical arrangements by Danny Holgate and Horace Ott, and it was directed and choreographed by Billy Wilson. The entire production under the supervision of Abe Burrows, and musical direction and choral arrangements were by Howard Roberts.

The show closed on February 13, 1977 after 239 performances and 12 previews. A cast recording was released subsequent to the show's opening.

1982 London revival

Laurence Olivier had wanted to play Nathan Detroit, and began rehearsals for a planned 1971 London revival of Guys and Dolls at his National Theatre Company's Old Vic theatre. However, due to poor health he had to stop, and his revival never saw the light of day.[11]

In 1982, Richard Eyre directed a major revival at London's National Theatre. Eyre called it a "re-thinking" of the musical, and his production featured an award-winning neon-lit set design inspired by Rudi Stern's 1979 book Let There Be Neon,[12] and brassier orchestrations with vintage yet innovative harmonies.[13][14] The show's choreography by David Toguri included a large-scale tap dance number of the "Guys and Dolls" finale, performed by the principals and entire cast. The revival opened March 9, 1982, and was an overnight sensation,[15] running for nearly four years and breaking all box office records.[16][17] The original cast featured Bob Hoskins as Nathan Detroit, Julia McKenzie as Adelaide, Ian Charleson as Sky and Julie Covington as Sarah.[18] The production won five Olivier Awards, including for McKenzie and Eyre and for Best Musical. Eyre also won the Evening Standard Award, and Hoskins won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award.

In October 1982, Hoskins was replaced by Trevor Peacock, Charleson by Paul Jones, and Covington by Belinda Sinclair; in the spring of 1983 McKenzie was replaced by Imelda Staunton and Fiona Hendley replaced Sinclair. This production closed in late 1983 to make way for a Broadway try-out of the ill-fated musical Jean Seberg, which following critical failure closed after four months.[19] Eyre's Guys and Dolls returned to the National from April through September 1984, ths time starring Lulu, Norman Rossington, Clarke Peters and Betsy Brantley.[20][21] After a nationwide tour, this production transferred to the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where it ran from June 1985 to April 1986.[22][23]

Following Ian Charleson's untimely death from AIDS at the age of 40, in November 1990 two emotional reunion performances of Guys and Dolls, with almost all of the original 1982 cast and musicians, were given at the National Theatre as a tribute to Charleson. The tickets sold out immediately, and the dress rehearsal was also packed. The proceeds from the performances were donated to the new Ian Charleson Day Centre HIV clinic at the Royal Free Hospital, and to scholarships in Charleson's name at LAMDA.[24]

1992 Broadway revival

DVD cover of the 1992 cast-album recording documentary, Guys and Dolls: Off the Record, starring Peter Gallagher, Josie de Guzman, Nathan Lane, and Faith Prince

The 1992 Broadway revival was the most successful American remounting of the show since its original opening. Directed by Jerry Zaks, it starred Nathan Lane as Nathan Detroit, Peter Gallagher as Sky, Faith Prince as Adelaide and Josie de Guzman as Sarah. This production played at the Martin Beck Theatre from April 14, 1992 to January 8, 1995, with 1,143 performances.

The production received a rave review from Frank Rich in The New York Times, stating "It's hard to know which genius, and I do mean genius, to celebrate first while cheering the entertainment at the Martin Beck."[25] It received eight Tony Award nominations, and won four, including Best Revival of a Musical, and the show also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival. This revival featured various revisions to the show's score, including brand new music for the "Runyonland", "A Bushel and a Peck," "Take Back Your Mink" and "Havana". The orchestrations were redesigned by Michael Starobin, and there were new dance arrangements added to "A Bushel and a Peck" and "Take Back Your Mink".

A one-hour documentary film captured the recording sessions of the production's original cast album. Titled Guys and Dolls: Off the Record, the film aired on PBS's Great Performances series in December 1992, and was released on DVD in 2007.[26][27] Complete takes of most of the show's songs are featured, as well as coaching from director Zaks, and commentary sessions by stars Gallagher, de Guzman, Lane, and Prince on the production and their characters.

1996 London revival

Richard Eyre repeated his 1982 success with another National Theatre revival of the show, this time in a limited run. It starred Henry Goodman as Nathan Detroit, Imelda Staunton returning as Adelaide, Clarke Peters returning as Sky and Joanna Riding as Sarah. Clive Rowe played Nicely-Nicely Johnson, and David Toguri returned as choreographer. The production ran from December 17, 1996 through March 29, 1997 and from July 2, 1997 to 22 November 22, 1997.[28][29] It received three Olivier Award nominations, winning one: Best Supporting Performance in a Musical went to Clive Rowe.[30] Richard Eyre won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Director, and the production won Best Musical.

2005 West End revival

The 2005 West End revival opened at London's Piccadilly Theatre in June 2005 and closed in April 2007. This revival, directed by Michael Grandage, starred Ewan McGregor as Sky, Jenna Russell as Sarah, Jane Krakowski as Adelaide, and Douglas Hodge as Nathan Detroit.[31] Patrick Swayze, Alex Ferns and Don Johnson successively played Nathan Detroit after Douglas Hodge left. This production added the song "Adelaide" that Frank Loesser had written for the 1955 film adaptation. According to a September 2007 article in, this West End production had been scheduled to begin previews for a transfer to Broadway in February 2008, but this plan was dropped.[32]

2009 Broadway revival

A 2009 Broadway revival of the show opened on March 1, 2009 at the Nederlander Theatre. The cast starred Oliver Platt as Nathan Detroit, Lauren Graham, in her Broadway debut, as Adelaide, Craig Bierko as Sky and Kate Jennings Grant as Sarah. Des McAnuff was the director, and the choreographer was Sergio Trujillo.[33][34] The show opened to generally negative reviews.[35] The New York Times called it "static" and "uninspired",[36] the New York Post said, "How can something so zippy be so tedious?"[37] and Time Out New York wrote, "Few things are more enervating than watching good material deflate."[38] However, the show received a highly favorable review from The New Yorker,[39] and the producers decided to keep the show open in hopes of positive audience response. The New York Post reported on March 4 that producer Howard Panter "[said] he'll give Guys and Dolls at least seven weeks to find an audience."[40] The revival closed on June 14, 2009 after 28 previews and 113 performances.[41]


In 1995, a Las Vegas production, performed without intermission, starred Jack Jones, Maureen McGovern and Frank Gorshin.[citation needed]

An Australian remount of the Michael Grandage West End production of Guys and Dolls opened in Melbourne, Australia on April 5, 2008. The show starred Lisa McCune, Marina Prior, Garry McDonald, Ian Stenlake, Shane Jacobson, Wayne Scott Kermond, and Magda Szubanski, and ran at the Princess Theatre.[42] The Melbourne season closed in August 2008 and transferred to Sydney from March 13, 2009 to May 31, 2009 at the Capitol Theatre, retaining the Melbourne cast.[43]

A new production of Guys and Dolls ran at Portland Center Stage in Portland, Oregon September – November 2008.[44]

In August 2009, a concert version ran at The Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California, starring Scott Bakula (Nathan Detroit), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Sky Masterson), Ellen Greene (Miss Adelaide), and Jessica Biel (Sarah Brown).[45]

In February 2011, a co-production between Clwyd Theatr Cymru, the New Wolsey Theatre and the Salisbury Playhouse opened at Clwyd Theatr. Directed by Peter Rowe, and with music direction by Greg Palmer and choreography by Francesca Jaynes, the show was performed by a cast of 22 actor-musicians, with all music played live on stage by the cast. The show also toured Cardiff, Swansea, and other Welsh cities as well as some English cities, receiving a positive review in The Guardian.[46][47]


Act I

After the overture the curtain rises to reveal bustling New York City in the style of Damon Runyon. In a pantomime of never-ceasing activities, New Yorkers, tourists, gamblers, crooks, cops, drunks, and streetwalkers go about their business in the hustle and bustle. ("Runyonland"). Three small-time gamblers, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Benny Southstreet, and Rusty Charlie, emerge from the crowd and are arguing over which horse will win tomorrow's big race ("Fugue for Tinhorns") when the band members of the Save-a-Soul Mission, a local Salvation Army-like organization, pass by. Their leader, the pious and beautiful Sergeant Sarah Brown, begins a fervent street-corner sermon to all the passers-by, encouraging them to quit the evils of drinking, lying and especially gambling ("Follow the Fold"), and promoting a revival meeting at their mission the coming Thursday. Her message goes unheeded, and the Missionaries leave dejectedly.

Nicely and Benny run across Harry the Horse, a hoodlum out of Brooklyn, who is looking for some gambling action and wishes to know the location of the floating crap game run by Nicely's and Benny's employer, Nathan Detroit. As Harry leaves, Nicely and Benny are confronted by the local policeman, Lt. Brannigan. Nathan Detroit arrives and, after getting rid of Brannigan with a few well placed insults, bemoans his lot to his sidekicks. As a large number of "high-rollers" are in town, Nathan, who is broke, is pressured to find a place to hold his illegal game. But due to Brannigan's strong-armed police activity, he has found only one likely spot: the Biltmore Hotel garage. The owner's requirement, however, is a $1,000 security deposit. ("The Oldest Established").

Nicely suggests that Nathan borrow the money from Sky Masterson, a high-rolling gambler willing to bet on virtually anything. Nathan knows that Sky will not give money as a loan, but he will make a wager for that amount. As Nathan attempts to think of a bet he cannot lose, his fiancee Miss Adelaide enters on her way to lunch with some chorus girls from her nightclub act. She is overjoyed to see Nathan and presents him with a belt for the fourteenth anniversary of their engagement, which has no end in sight. This sad arrangement has given Adelaide a cold. Adelaide is unaware that Nathan is still running the crap game, so she must be fobbed off so Nathan can meet with Sky.

Nathan encounters Sky, who is only in town for a few days before he flies to Havana, Cuba, and attempts to draw him into a bet regarding the amount of cheesecake versus strudel sold at a nearby restaurant, which Nathan researched moments before. Sky sees through him and gives him a lecture his father had once told him about sucker bets. Nathan observes that Sky is traveling alone to Havana, and Sky brags that he could get any woman he wanted to accompany him, if he wanted to. Nathan then proposes a bet which he believes he cannot lose: Sky must take a doll (a woman) of Nathan's choice to dinner in Havana. Inspired by the passing Save-A-Soul Mission band, Nathan chooses none other than Sergeant Sarah Brown. Sky's confidence quickly fades.

At the mission, Sarah and her team, including her grandfather Arvide Abernathy, arrive out of breath and dejected. Sarah is frustrated that they have failed to recruit or save a single sinner in the time that they have been operating the Broadway mission. Sky enters the mission and proclaims that he wants to be saved. After Arvide leaves, Sky offers a proposal: He will fill the mission with "one dozen genuine sinners" for Sarah's Thursday revival meeting if she will accompany him to Havana the next night. He even offers her his "marker", a signed piece of paper reading "I owe you one dozen genuine sinners." His motives for coming to the mission now clear, Sarah rebuffs him. She tells him that he isn't the kind of man she wants and that she is waiting for the love of her life, whom she pictures to be a straight-shooting religious man she will know on sight ("I'll Know"). Sky reflects that he has not pictured the kind of girl he will marry, and that he plans on being surprised when he falls in love. He kisses her. After a moment, she slaps him, and he departs, promising to return the next day. He leaves his marker behind. She nearly tears it up, but thinks better of it and puts it in a drawer.

Nathan, certain that Sky will lose the bet, arranges to use the garage and then goes to the Hot Box, the seedy nightclub where Miss Adelaide is the headliner, and watches her farm-themed closing number ("A Bushel And A Peck"). After the number, Adelaide confesses to Nathan that she has been lying to her mother for the past 14 years and has told her that she is married with a staggering five children. She asks him, for the umpteenth time, to go down to city hall and get a marriage license. When a loud-mouthed chorus girl lets slip that Nathan is running the crap game again, he makes a quick escape from Adelaide's wrath. She consults a medical book she has been reading, which tells her that the chronic cold she suffers is a psychosomatic reaction to her frustration with Nathan's failure to marry her ("Adelaide's Lament").

The next day, Nicely and Benny observe that Sky is still following Sarah around, but getting nowhere, and that Nathan is running rings around himself to keep the crap game secret from Miss Adelaide and get back in her good graces. They comment on the power of a woman to make a man do anything she wants ("Guys and Dolls").

The band returns to their mission to discover that the formidable General Cartwright, the leader of their organization, has dropped by unexpectedly. The General sadly explains that due to the low turnout in Sarah's branch of the mission, she will be forced to close the branch unless there is some kind of turnout at the coming revival meeting. Sarah is pleading her case when Sky drops in, claiming to be a success case. Sarah opens a drawer, discovers Sky's marker, and haltingly promises to deliver "one dozen genuine sinners" on Thursday night.

A group of gamblers gathers at a newsstand, waiting to hear from Nathan the location of the game. Nathan, having sent Nicely to get the money from Sky, stalls for time, but the gamblers are growing anxious. Especially impatient is the high-roller Harry the Horse has brought from Chicago: Big Jule, a hulking thug armed with a snub-nosed revolver and a short temper. Things get worse when Lt. Brannigan arrives, suspicious of the large gathering of known lowlifes. Inspired by Adelaide, who is serendipitously passing by, Benny announces that the gathering is Nathan's "surprise bachelor party" and that he and Adelaide are finally getting married. Brannigan, satisfied, suggests that the couple elope, a suggestion the overjoyed Adelaide takes gladly. Nathan is perplexed but resigned to matrimony and Adelaide goes home to pack, promising to meet him after her show at the Hot Box the next afternoon. The danger past, the gamblers press Nathan again for the location of the game. He laments the fact that Sky's money hasn't arrived yet and Benny wonders if Sky took the doll to Havana after all. The Save-A-Soul Mission band passes, and Sarah is not in it; Nathan faints into Benny's arms.

In Havana, Sarah and Sky tour religious monuments and several nightclubs. Sky plies Sarah with a delicious "Cuban milkshake" called "Dulce de Leche", the secret ingredient of which is Bacardi rum, and she becomes increasingly tipsy, even starting a brawl when a dancer makes eyes at Sky. Sitting by a fountain, Sarah lets her hair down and proclaims that she is truly enjoying herself for the first time in her life ("If I Were A Bell"). She kisses him, and Sky is surprised to find himself returning it, but can't bring himself to take advantage of Sarah while she's under the influence. He drags her back to the airport.

They return to New York, and Sarah, now sober, apologizes for her behavior. It is three or four o'clock in the morning, Sky's favorite time of the day, and he admits to Sarah that she is the only woman he has ever wanted to share it with ("My Time of Day"). He asks her to call him by his real name: Obediah. Alone together on a quiet street outside the mission, Sarah and Sky each nervously confess their love ("I've Never Been in Love Before") and kiss. Unfortunately, their romantic moment is ruined when a siren rings out and a stream of gamblers run out of the mission, where Nathan, unable to secure the garage, has been holding the crap game. Sky tells Sarah he had nothing to do with this, but she tells him they are no good for each other. "What the hell kind of doll are you?" Sky exclaims in frustration. "I'm a Mission doll," she replies, and closes the door, leaving him standing outside in the cold.

Act II

That afternoon, Adelaide performs another song at the Hot Box ("Take Back Your Mink"), but Nathan isn't there. Sky is looking for him, and runs into Nicely, who is there bearing a message for Adelaide: Nathan cannot elope because his aunt is ill. He admits the truth to Sky: Nathan cannot elope because the game is still going on, nearly 24 hours after it began. Big Jule, having lost a bundle, has ensured that the game will continue until he comes out on top. Sky demands to be taken to the game, as he has some unfinished business to take care of before he leaves town. Adelaide appears, ready to elope with Nathan, and Nicely bumbles his message out and leaves. Adelaide is confused, but soon realizes that Nathan has stood her up yet again. Sky attempts to console her, telling her that people like Nathan and himself are not made for matrimony. He departs, leaving Adelaide to run back to her book for comfort ("Adelaide's Second Lament").

Sarah and Arvide Abernathy are canvassing again. Sarah confesses that she loves Sky but resolves never to see him again, still blaming him for the previous night. Instead of scolding Sarah or condemning Sky, Abernathy expresses his faith in Sky's inherent goodness and urges Sarah to follow her heart ("More I Cannot Wish You"). Sky and Nicely enter, and Sky tells Sarah he intends on making good on his marker. She coldly tells him to consider it paid and leaves, but Arvide subtly encourages him. Sky asks Nicely where the game is being held, and Nicely points down a sewer manhole.

The crap game is now being held in a sewer ("Crapshooter's Ballet"). The gamblers are hot, tired and running low on cash, but Big Jule and his revolver are insisting that the game continue until he can win back his heavy losses. To facilitate this, he insists on playing Nathan (who never actually gambles, rather taking his percentage of the top) with his "lucky dice". Big Jule's lucky dice have had the spots removed, allowing him to call them any way he wants. Nathan objects, but Big Jule forces him to bid higher and higher until he is cleaned out. Sky and Nicely enter, and Sky quickly puts an end to the cheating by knocking Big Jule out and relieving him of his gun. He asks the gamblers to attend the mission prayer meeting, but they refuse. Dejected, Sky starts to leave, but is stopped by Nathan, apologizing for not having the money to pay off his bet with Sky. Sky, however, gives Nathan $1,000, stating that he lost the bet, and Nathan won. Nathan uses this money to challenge Big Jule to an honest game, but is told by Harry the Horse that with honest dice Big Jule "cannot make a pass to save his soul." Inspired by this comment, Sky takes the biggest gamble of his life: Staking everything on a single roll of the dice, he bets every man at the game a thousand dollars against their souls. If he loses, everyone gets a thousand dollars each, but if he wins, they must all attend a prayer meeting at Sarah's mission ("Luck, Be a Lady"). He tosses the dice.

Later, the gamblers head towards the mission, grumbling about attending the prayer meeting. On his way there, Nathan runs into Adelaide. He apologizes and she melts, asking him to elope right now. Nathan, remembering his promise, makes the unbelievable excuse that he has to attend a prayer meeting. Tired of his never-ending lies and excuses, Adelaide blows up and storms off ("Sue Me").

At the mission, no sinners have come to be saved, and Sarah is just giving up hope when all of the gamblers shuffle in. Sky enters, makes sure everything is in order, and then hands the meeting over to Nathan. Nathan forces Benny, Big Jule, and Harry the Horse to give testimony, which rings rather hollow. When Brannigan bursts in, Nathan thinks fast and piously asks Nicely to get up and testify. Nicely invents a dream which encouraged him to repent, and quickly gets the crowd on their feet ("Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat"). Brannigan cuts through the religious fervor, by threatening to arrest everyone for the crap game in the Mission the previous night, but Sarah clears them, saying she has never seen them before in her life and so they couldn't have been there. After Brannigan leaves, Nathan confesses in his testimony that they did indeed hold the crap game in the mission, and also confesses the bet he made with Sky about taking Sarah to Havana. He adds that he won the bet, to Sarah's shock, and she realizes how much Sky actually cares for her. She slips out as the meeting continues.

Sarah and Adelaide serendipitously run into each other, and Adelaide is shocked and delighted to discover that Nathan actually attended a prayer meeting and wasn't lying, though this of course just increases her confusion. They commiserate in their woes, and then resolve to accept their men as they are, since they can always change them later ("Marry the Man Today").

Several weeks later, many changes have happened in Times Square. Nathan has opened a newsstand and is finally marrying Adelaide now that he has gone (almost) straight. He has, however, forgotten to get a location to hold the wedding. The problem is unexpectedly solved when the mission band marches by, with none other than Sky Masterson beating the big bass drum. Arvide has just married Sky and Sarah, and is more than happy to provide the same service to Nathan and Adelaide. All ends happily, even if Nathan appears to have caught Adelaide's cold at the thought of matrimony ("Guys and Dolls (Finale/Reprise)").

Musical numbers

Act I
  • "Overture" (Orchestra)
  • "Runyonland" (Orchestra)
  • "Fugue for Tinhorns" (Nicely, Benny, Rusty)
  • "Follow the Fold" (Sarah, Mission Band)
  • "The Oldest Established" (Nathan, Nicely, Benny, Guys)
  • "I'll Know" (Sarah, Sky)
  • "A Bushel and a Peck" (Miss Adelaide, Hot Box Girls)
  • "Adelaide's Lament" (Miss Adelaide)
  • "Guys and Dolls" (Nicely, Benny)
  • "Havana" (Orchestra)
  • "If I Were a Bell" (Sarah)
  • "My Time of Day/I've Never Been in Love Before" (Sky, Sarah)
Act II
  • "Take Back Your Mink" (Miss Adelaide, Hot Box Girls)
  • "Adelaide's Second Lament" (Miss Adelaide)
  • "More I Cannot Wish You" (Arvide)
  • "The Crapshooters Dance" (Orchestra)
  • "Luck Be a Lady" (Sky, Guys)
  • "Sue Me" (Miss Adelaide, Nathan)
  • "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" (Nicely, Company)
  • "Marry the Man Today" (Miss Adelaide, Sarah)
  • "Happy Ending/Guys and Dolls (Reprise)" (Company)

Film adaptation

On November 3, 1955 the film version of the musical was released, starring Marlon Brando as Sky, Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit, and Jean Simmons as Sarah, with Vivian Blaine reprising her role as Adelaide. The film was directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.

Three new songs, written by Frank Loesser, were added to the film: "Pet Me Poppa"; "A Woman in Love"; and "Adelaide", which was written specifically for Sinatra. Five songs from the stage musical were omitted from the movie: "A Bushel and a Peck", "My Time of Day", "I've Never Been In Love Before", "More I Cannot Wish You", and "Marry the Man Today".

Casts of major productions

The following table shows the principal casts of the major productions of Guys and Dolls:

Nathan Detroit Miss Adelaide Sky Masterson Sister Sarah Brown Nicely-Nicely Johnson Arvide Abernathy Big Jule Harry the Horse Benny Southstreet
Original Broadway Production Sam Levene Vivian Blaine Robert Alda Isabel Bigley Stubby Kaye Pat Rooney B.S. Pully Tom Pedi Johnny Silver
Original London Production Sam Levene Vivian Blaine Jerry Wayne Lizbeth Webb Stubby Kaye Ernest Butcher Lew Herbert Tom Pedi Johnny Silver
1955 Film Frank Sinatra Vivian Blaine Marlon Brando Jean Simmons Stubby Kaye Regis Toomey B.S. Pully Sheldon Leonard Johnny Silver
1976 Broadway Revival Robert Guillaume Norma Donaldson James Randolph Ernestine Jackson Ken Page Emett “Babe” Wallace Walter White John Russell Christophe Pierre
1982 London Revival Bob Hoskins Julia McKenzie Ian Charleson Julie Covington David Healy John Normington Jim Carter Bill Paterson Barrie Rutter
1992 Broadway Revival Nathan Lane Faith Prince Peter Gallagher Josie de Guzman Walter Bobbie John Carpenter Herschel Sparber Ernie Sabella J.K. Simmons
2005 London Revival Douglas Hodge Jane Krakowski Ewan McGregor Jenna Russell Martyn Ellis Niall Buggy Sevan Stephan Norman Bowman Cory English
2008 Melbourne Production Garry McDonald Marina Prior Ian Stenlake Lisa McCune Shane Jacobson Russell Newman Magda Szubanski Adam Murphy Wayne Scott Kermond
2009 Broadway Revival Oliver Platt Lauren Graham Craig Bierko Kate Jennings Grant Tituss Burgess Jim Ortlieb Glenn Fleshler Jim Walton Steve Rosen


There are numerous recordings of the show's score on compact disc. The most notable include:

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1951 Tony Award Best Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Robert Alda Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Isabel Bigley Won
Best Choreography Michael Kidd Won
Best Direction of a Musical George S. Kaufman Won

1965 New York City Center production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1965 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Jerry Orbach Nominated

1976 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1977 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Robert Guillaume Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Ernestine Jackson Nominated
Theatre World Award Ken Page Won
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Robert Guillaume Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Ernestine Jackson Nominated

1982 London revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1982 Critics' Circle Theatre Award[57] Best Actor Bob Hoskins Won
Best Designer John Gunter Won
Evening Standard Award Best Director Richard Eyre Won
Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical of the Year Won
Best Actor in a Musical Bob Hoskins Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Julia McKenzie Won
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical David Healy Won
Best Director Richard Eyre Won
Best Set Design John Gunter Won

1992 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1992 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nathan Lane Won
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Faith Prince Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Walter Bobbie Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Jerry Zaks Won
Outstanding Choreography Christopher Chadman Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Tony Walton Won
Outstanding Costume Design William Ivey Long Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Paul Gallo Won
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Nathan Lane Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Faith Prince Won
Josie de Guzman Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Jerry Zaks Won
Best Choreography Christopher Chadman Nominated
Best Scenic Design Tony Walton Won
Best Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated

1996 London revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1996 Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Director Richard Eyre Won
1997 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Musical Imelda Staunton Nominated
Joanna Riding Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Clive Rowe Won

2005 London revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2006 Laurence Olivier Award Outstanding Musical Production Won
Best Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Nominated
Ewan McGregor Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Jane Krakowski Won
Jenna Russell Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Rob Ashford Nominated
Best Sound Design Terry Jardine and Chris Full Nominated
Best Lighting Design Howard Harrison Nominated

2008 Australian production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2008 Helpmann Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Marina Prior Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Shane Jacobson Won
Best Direction in a Musical Michael Grandage and Jamie Lloyd Nominated
Best Choreography in a Musical Rob Ashford Nominated
Best Sound Design Chris Full, John Scandrett and Nick Reich Nominated

2009 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2009 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Scenic Design Robert Brill Nominated


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  4. ^ Herrmann, Dorothy (1982). With Malice Toward All. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. pp. 60–61. 
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  14. ^ The New Yorker, Volume 64, Issues 1-10. F-R Pub. Corp., 1988. p. 103
  15. ^ Battersby, Kate. "The Cast Were in Shock at the Avalanche of Appreciation." The Telegraph. May 31, 2005.
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  18. ^ Jensen, Gregory. "How the British beat Broadway at its own game", United Press International, March 22, 1982 (no page number)
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  21. ^ Guys and Dolls (Royal National Theatre Production, 1984) at
  22. ^ Scottish Field, Volume 131. Holmes McDougall, 1985.
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  24. ^ Benedict, David. "Good Night, Sweet Prince." The Independent. 6 January 1995.
  25. ^ Rich, Frank.Review/Theater: Guys and Dolls; Damon Runyon's New York Lives Anew'THe New York Times, April 15, 1992
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  28. ^ Guys and Dolls at the UK Theatre Web
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  30. ^ "Olivier Winners 1997", retrieved May 28, 2010
  31. ^ "Adelaide's Lament: London Guys and Dolls Closes April 14",,
  32. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Guys and Dolls Revival Unlikely for Spring",, September 11, 2007
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  34. ^ Guys & Dolls Revival Plays First Preview
  35. ^ Review summary for 2009 Guys and Dolls at New York Theatre Guide
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  40. ^ Riedel, Michael, The New York Post, "PRODUCER BACKS PLAY THE CRITICS DON'T LIKE", March 4, 2009, p. 40
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  57. ^ Critics Circle Awards – 1982


  • Susan Loesser (1993): A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life. Donald I. Fine, New York ISBN-0-634-00927-3.
  • Davis, Lee. "The Indestructible Icon" in ShowMusic, Winter 2000-01: 17-24, 61-63

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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