Abe Burrows, Acting, Actor, Actress, Blood Pressure, Damon Runyon, Frank Loesser, Fredericksburg, Guys and Dolls, Jo Swerling, New York City, Performing Arts, Photograph, Photography, Play, Stage Door, The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, Theater, Theatre, Virginia, Visual Arts
Stage Door Productions’ Youth Theatre Program and the Chancellor High School Theatre are proud to present Guys and Dolls, Jr. The shows will be this coming weekend on November 21st at 7pm and two shows on November 22nd at 2pm and 7pm. All will be held at Chancellor High School located at 6300 Harrison Road in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Be sure to get your tickets! You will be able to purchase tickets that will get you into the show on either day!
Stage Door Stories caught up with the director of the show, Amy Beaulieu, to get her perspective on the show and working with the talented young actors and actresses that will bring this story to life.
Guys and Dolls is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It’s also one of my all-time favorite musicals! The story is based on two short stories, “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure” by Damon Runyon. Runyon wrote in the 1920s and 1930s about gangsters and gamblers in the criminal underworld of New York City, and I highly recommend checking out at least these stories, if not more of his work. He paints this fascinating picture of what New York was like “back in the day.” His characters and the writing style – particularly the dialogue – take you to a different world.
The musical takes on much of this flavor of New York, and although the timeline is updated from Runyon’s stories to 1950, none of the charm is lost. When the musical debuted on Broadway, it opened to rave reviews and earned a Tony. Over the years, several revivals have been produced with the most recent being in 2009. If you’re a fan of the show, you know there was also a movie version filmed in 1955 starring Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Vivian Blaine and Jean Simmons. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie if you haven’t seen it before – it belongs in your classic movie musical repertoire.
When we first began rehearsing, the show content and the spirit of the 1950s were foreign to the Stage Door Youth Theatre cast members. This is not surprising, considering that they range in age from six to 17 years! It was really a neat thing to witness the process as they began to learn more about this time period and color their acting choices with mannerisms appropriate to that time.
The dialogue style and syntax were particularly challenging for the young actors, who are much more accustomed to the casual style of conversation in use today. On top of that, some of the characters called for stronger Brooklyn accents over the old-fashioned vernacular. These kids really dove right in, did their homework and came up with some great stuff. One of our actresses, who shall remain nameless, began the rehearsal process with something that resembled a nasally southern accent, but she has done a remarkable job with transforming herself into a real 1950s New York doll. Things like this really make these types of shows so much fun.
Now that tech week has rolled around, the cast is in costume and the set is being finalized, this world of Runyon’s feels even more real. The kids have done an amazing job with making this old-fashioned romantic comedy relevant to today – but at the same time they give a great nod to the past with the respect they have given for the material. Honestly, they have made me love this show even that much more. Please come see them this weekend!
Thanks Amy! That sounds great! Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect to see this weekend!