Guys and Dolls

Click here for more "Guys and Dolls" pictures from!Music & Lyrics: Frank Loesser

Book: Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows

Although Guys and Dolls eventually became the fifth longest-running Broadway musical of the Fifties, it was a long and difficult road getting it to the stage at all. Producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin originally envisioned the musical as a serious romantic story along the lines of South Pacific. After hiring composer and lyricist Frank Loesser, they eventually went through 11 librettists before finally deciding to make the project a comedy and settling on Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, a radio and television writer with no theatrical experience.

Based on Damon Runyon's short story "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown," Guys and Dolls revolves around Nathan Detroit, the organizer of the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York, who bets fellow gambler Sky Masterson that he can't make the next girl he sees fall in love with him. The next girl he sees happens to be Miss Sarah Brown, a pure-at-heart Salvation Army-type reformer, and the stage is set for an hilarious evening of complications.

Guys and Dolls opened at the 46th Street Theatre on November 24, 1950 and enjoyed a run of 1,200 performances. The original cast included Robert Alda, Vivian Blaine, Sam Levene and Isabel Bigley. The 1955 film version featured Marlon Brando, Vivian Blaine, Frank Sinatra and Jean Simmons. In 1976, a Broadway revival was staged with an all-black cast.

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