Members of the press and some Asolo Rep supporters got a glimpse of the theater company’s upcoming show, Guys and Dolls, Thursday morning in the Mertz Theatre.
Producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards took the stage to introduce a lively version (especially for 10 a.m. on a weekday morning) of the number “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” performed by cast members (led by Todd Buonopane as Nicely-Nicely Johnson), who later introduced themselves and told the audience what roles they were playing. Edwards called the show “highly celebratory” in a divisive time in our country, with “larger-than-life characters you’re going to fall in love with…This show is in your DNA as Americans.”
Veronica J. Kuehn also delivered the popular “Adelaide’s Lament,” and director-choreographer Josh Rhodes commented on the show’s roots in traditions of vaudeville, burlesque and Borscht Belt comedy, saying he was happy to be “passing on that tradition” to the mostly young cast.
Rhodes also introduced music director Sinai Tabak, whose own apparent youthfulness caused him to joke, “I won’t say how old I am but I will say I was 25 the last time the Cubs won the World Series”—a reference to last night’s history-making baseball game.
Tabak is in charge of rearranging the show’s well-known numbers for the production’s nine-member orchestra; the morning event also gave those in the seats a sneak peek at Lee Savage’s colorful New York City set.
“You can’t find a better original American voice than Damon Runyon,” said Rhodes. (For those who don’t know, Runyon’s stories provide the basis for the Tony-winning musical comedy written by Frank Loesser with a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, which first bowed on Broadway back in 1950.) Working on the show, he added, “is filling our days with laughter. I hope you walk out dancing.”
Guys and Dolls previews Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at the Mertz, with opening night Nov. 18, and runs through Jan. 1. For more information, head to asolorep.org.