'I'VE BEEN IN REHEARSALS FOR THIS MY WHOLE LIFE!'
When: Tuesday, March 19, to Saturday, March 23, nightly 7pm, Saturday, 2pm and 7pm.
Where: Hull New Theatre, Kingston Square, Hull.
Tickets: From £10 to £18.
To book: 01482 300300.
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Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Visit: www.hessletheatre.co.uk www.hullcc.gov.uk/hullnewtheatre
Origins: Guys And Dolls was originally based on the short stories of American author Damon Runyon.
Success: It premiered on Broadway in 1950. It ran for 1,200 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
Big screen: The 1955 film version starred Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson and Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit.
Guys And Jedi: The 2005 London revival of the show starred Ewan McGregor as Sky Masterson.
Talent: The show was written by composer and lyricist Frank Loesser with a story by radio comedy writer Abe Burrows.
It has been described as the "greatest American musical of all time" so, as Hull prepares to welcome Guys And Dolls, Ian Midgley finds out why it's been rockin' the boat for 70 years
S arah Lazenby has been preparing for the role of Miss Adelaide all her life – mainly by coughing, spluttering and being allergic to anything that moves.
Adelaide, the frustrated nightclub singer with a permanent head cold, brought on – she says – by her gambling man fiancé Nathan Detroit's unwillingness to tie the knot – is the perfect fit for the Hull dancer, who is pretty much living the part.
"If it's method acting, then I've been in rehearsals all my life," says the statuesque blonde who will be playing Adelaide in Guys And Dolls, at Hull New Theatre, next week.
"I've had this cold for months now, so I don't really need to do any acting – it's all real.
"I haven't been doing any Daniel Day Lewis-style method acting preparation for the part, but I am allergic to everything, dust, animals, flowers – I've got hayfever – so I suppose you could look at my whole life as a dry run for playing Adelaide."
Sarah, a former professional dancer and now a performing arts teacher, is one of the 50-strong cast from the acclaimed Hessle Theatre Company who will be recreating the colourful gambling underworld of 1930s "Noo Yoik" at Hull New Theatre from March 19 to 23.
A relative newcomer to the company, she made her debut with the group in last year's Little Shop Of Horrors, playing another dysfunctional blonde-turned carnivorous plant food, Audrey, but says she has been blown away by the quality of the shows the Hessle group stages since joining its ranks.
It may be amateur in name, but it is anything but when it comes to the size and scale of its productions, she says.
For Guys And Dolls the spectacle will transport audiences from the Big Apple's neon-lit downtown to the Brooklyn sewers and sun-kissed Cuba – with an all-singing, all-dancing chorus, a double love story and a soundtrack that boasts Broadway classics such as Luck Be A Lady and Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat.
For those not versed in musical lore – or if you have not see the 1955 film version starring Frank Sinatra as Detroit and Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, the story unfolds around two love-struck, but mismatched, couples.
Detroit with his commitment issues has left Adelaide hanging for 14 years, while Masterson accidentally falls in love with prim Salvation Army sergeant Sarah Brown after taking a bet to seduce her.
Cue enough hi-octane musical numbers, dancing and laughs to win armfuls of Tony and Olivier awards and even a 1951 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
For veteran Hessle Theatre Company director Martin Beaumont, Guys And Dolls is the musical and a perennial favourite among theatre goers.
"This is a show that I've wanted to direct for a long, long time," he says.
"It's one of the best musicals ever, an absolute classic. It's a joyous, uplifting show with great songs, a great story and great comedy. It's one of the pinnacles of the musical world."
Originally based on the short stories of American journalist and author Damon Runyon, whose affectionate tales breathed life into a catalogue of New York gamblers, hustlers, actors and gangsters, Guys And Dolls is a masterpiece in evoking a bygone era, says Martin, and threading through it an array of memorable characters.
"Logistically, it's a beast of a show to organise," says the director.
"The way we look at it," he says. "Is if it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly.
"A lot's been said about our company producing professional-quality productions – but it's true.
"I don't want people to be able to notice any difference between coming to our show and a professional touring production such as Hairspray, which was on the same stage a week ago.
"And with this, I don't think they will."