Guys and Dolls Reimagined in Staged Concert Performance

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This weekend, a group of students and faculty will be performing a concert staging of Guys and Dolls, the widely popular 1950 musical. This production is conducted and co-directed by Audrey Edelstein ‘15, and is for the first time being performed by a 45 piece orchestra, with orchestrations written by co-director and music professor Andrew Hauze ‘04.

Edelstein and Hauze put on a similar concert performance of Rodger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific last spring. After that successful performance, Hauze wanted to find more opportunities to allow students in both the music department and the college as a whole to get to know musical theatre classics. He eventually pitched the idea of an annual musical to the President’s Office, and was given startup money in addition to funding from the music department.

Hauze chose Guys and Dolls both he “has a thing for Golden Age musicals,” and because he thinks “it is one of the best scores from that era.” The score was of particular important to Hauze, because these concert performances put a “musical emphasis” on the material.

Hauze did not add any new music to the score, but did “rearrange the whole thing,” he said. The original score was written for relatively small orchestra and was very demanding on particular players. In pursuit of using all the players available in Swarthmore’s orchestra, and making the show “the most complete experience we can,” Hauze wrote to the Frank Loesser estate to seek permission to rearrange the score. To his surprise, the estate agreed, and Hauze spend the summer reimagining on the score.

Guys and Dolls is a musical comedy set in New York City. In an attempt to win $1,000 quickly, gambler Nathan Detroit (Wesley Han ‘18) bets Sky Masterson (Aaron Kroeber ‘16) that he cannot take a woman of Nathan’s choice to Havana, Cuba. Sky takes the bet, but Nathan picks Miss Sarah Brown (Kelley Langhans ‘16), the sargeant of a local Christian mission. All the while, Nathan must hide his gambling from his fiance of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (Sarah Tupchong ‘17). Professor Craig Williamson also appears as Lt. Brannigan’s, the police officer trying to shut down Nathan’s crap game.

Guys and Dolls will differ slightly from last year’s production of South Pacific, which Hauze described as having a “shoestring budget.” This production will feature full costumes and some choreography (by Gretchen Trupp ‘18 and Deborah Krieger ‘16, respectively). This production also has a larger focus on acting and dialogue from the script, said Hauze, as opposed to South Pacific “where the music kind of carries everything.”

Edelstein said that while South Pacific is similar to Guys and Dolls in terms of cast size and genre, the process of producing each show has been very different. While she co-directed and co-conducting Pacific with Jeremy Rapaport-Stein ’14, she is conducting this production alone. Edelstein enjoyed collaborating with Rapaport-Stein, saying, “It was great to have someone to honestly ask “Hey, was I taking that too fast? Am I making weird faces? Am I being a dictator?”.

Hauze believes he will stage another concert in the 2015-2016 school year, but is not yet sure which show he will choose. The decision he says, partially depends on which students will be available.

Guys and Dolls will be performed in the Lang Music Hall on Saturday, November 1 at 8:00pm and Sunday, November 2 at 7:30pm.

Featured image courtesy of Martin Froger-Silva ’16/The Daily Gazette.

Allison Hrabar

Allison is double major in Political Science (Honors) and Film and Media Studies. When not working for The Daily Gazette, she cajoles people into watching the The Americans (Wednesdays at 10:00p.m. on FX).

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