GUYS AND DOLLS, The classic Broadway Musical and winner of nine Tony Awards opens on February 27th. It is based on the characters and short stories of Alfred Damon Runyon (1880 – 1946). Runyon was an American newspaperman and short story writer best known for celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a “Damon Runyon character” or something “Runyonesque” evoked a distinctive social type from Brooklyn or Midtown and the situations and dialog he depicted. He spun humorous and sentimental tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters with colorful monikers such as our show’s characters Nathan Detroit, Big Jule, Benny Southstreet, Harry the Horse, and of course Nicely-Nicely Johnson. His writing style was a mix of formal speech and colorful slang. A few of the most memorable songs are “Oldest Established,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Luck Be A Lady,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat.”
GUYS AND DOLLS was based on two of Runyon’s stories, “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure.” It also borrows characters and story elements from “Pick the Winner.” In all, 20 films were made from his work including “Sorrowful Jones” starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, “Little Miss Marker” starring Shirley Temple, “The Big Street” starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, and “Pocketful of Miracles” starring Bette Davis and Glenn Ford. The 1955 film “Guys and Dolls” starred Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine. Don’t miss The Fireside’s brand-new production of this true American classic running through April 12th. They just don’t write ‘em like this one anymore!