A hipper ‘Guys and Dolls’ struts its stuffSince it first premiered on Broadway in 1950, the musical “Guys and Dolls” has been a phenomenal success, spawning countless revivals and translated versions that have been performed around the world. In South Korea, “Guys and Dolls” also became a theatrical sensation, and this year, the producers at Soldam Entertainment have decided to come up with a fresher version of the classic romantic comedy in Korean.
What’s billed as the “2005 New Version ‘Guys and Dolls’ in Seoul” promises a hipper and more varied production, with the addition of spectacular visual effects and diversified dancing styles on a “panorama-like stage,” one that comprises a central stage and smaller ones off to the sides, a la theater-in-the-round, so the actors can play out some of the major scenes closer to the audience.
The choreography of the dances will also differ from the original and will include Latin, salsa and swing dance formulas.
Besides the upgrading of the choreography, the costumes worn by the actors will have a more contemporary feel, creating something of a “1940s-meet-the-21st-century”effect.
The original story is set in 1940s in New York City, and revolves around a bet made by gambling friends Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson to win the heart of a girl. Sky bets Nathan, who is the organizer of the oldest permanent floating crap game in the Big Apple, that he can make the next girl that passes by fall in love with him and take her on a romantic getaway to Havana. Nathan chooses the pure-hearted Salvation Army sergeant Sarah Brown, who happen to be passing by, as the “catch” whom Sky must woo. The events that unfold, which revolve around the status of the bet, the floating crap game and the engagement of Nathan and Adelaide, his girlfriend of 14 years, result in a story of comical confusion and reconcilation.
The spirited musical begs the question, “What would a guy do for the love of a gal?”
Adapted from the novel by Joe Swerling and Abe Burrows with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, the musical “Guys and Dolls” ran for 1,200 performances when it made its debut on Broadway.
Some of the nation’s premier musical actors, including Kim Jang-seop, Jeon Suk-gyeong and Ryu Jeong-han star in this version of “Guys and Dolls.” All three have played leading roles in Broadway musical remakes such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The King and I” and “Mamma Mia!” among others.
Ms. Jeon, who recently joined the cast when one of the female leads suffered an injury, played the role of “Adelaide” in the “Guys and Dolls” musical staged in Seoul in 2003.
The musical runs until May 1 at the Jeongdong Popcorn House in central Seoul. Showtimes are 8 p.m. on weekdays, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 3 p.m. and 6: 30 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays. No show on Mondays. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won ($50) to 70,000 won.
For more information, visit www.guysndolls.co.kr or call (02) 501-7888.
by Choi Jie-ho