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Guys and Dolls

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The Writing of Guys and Dolls

Noel KatzCommentary and writing tips by Noel Katz

Frank Loesser, my favorite songwriter, possessed an essential quality for a writer of musical theatre, one that probably can't be taught: an innate sense of what would make an entertaining and theatrical song. Guys and Dolls is full of examples:

Loesser was somewhat similar to the Damon Runyon characters that populate this story, and is very adept at coming up with lyrics that only these characters might say ("I'm just a no-good-nik"). The libretto by Abe Burrows (Jo Swerling's earlier draft was completely discarded) also makes fun use of the oddly formal language Runyon used to fictionalize the exploits of Times Square types he knew, some of which were part of the organized crime gang, Murder Incorporated.

Structurally, the musical is unusual in that it has two romances with equal prominence, rather than a main plot and a sub-plot. These two threads intersect only rarely. But when they do, it's another opportunity for a Loesser delight: the two heroines have hardly met when they strategize "Marry the Man Today" together.

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DVD

Guys & Dolls (DVD) from Amazon.com Widescreen Deluxe Edition of the 1955 film version starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. Special features on the DVD include two documentaries about the making of the movie and the transition from a stage show to a movie musical.

Cast Recordings for Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls Original CastGuys & Dolls (1950 Original Broadway Cast) from Amazon.com Original cast recording starring Vivian Blane and Robert Alda. Songs include: Runyonland Music/Fugue For Tinhorns/Follow The Fold, The Oldest Established, I'll Know, A Bushel And A Peck, Adelaide's Lament, Guys And Dolls, If I Were A Bell, My Time Of Day, I've Never Been In Love Before, Take Back Your Mink, More I Cannot Wish You, Luck Be A Lady, Sue Me, (Sit Down) You're Rocking the Boat, Marry The Man Today, Reprise: Guys And Dolls, I'll Know, If I Were A Bell, A Woman In Love, and Luck Be A Lady

Guys and Dolls Revival CastGuys and Dolls (1992 Broadway Revival Cast) from Amazon.comStarring Faith Prince, Nathan Lane, and Peter Gallagher. Songs include: Runyonland, Fugue For Tinhorns, Follow The Fold, The Oldest Established..., I'll Know, A Bushel & A Peck, Adelaide's Lament, Guys & Dolls, Havana, If I Were A Bell, My Time Of Day, I've Never Been In Love Before, Take Back Your Mink, Adelaide's Lament (Reprise), More I Cannot Wish You, The Crapshooters' Dance, Luck Be A Lady, Sue Me, Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat, Marry The Man Today, and Guys & Dolls (Reprise)

Guys and Dolls Sheet Music and Reference Material

Guys and Dolls: Vocal Selections (A Musical Fable of Broadway Based on Characters by Damon Runyon) Songs include: Adelaide's Lament, If I Were A Bell, Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat, Luck Be A Lady, Take Back Your Mink, I'll Know, Guys And Dolls, I've Never Been In Love Before, More I Cannot Wish You, Fugue For Tinhorns, Sue Me, and A Bushel And A Peck

Guys and Dolls (Score) by Frank Loesser 

"Luck Be A Lady" from Musicnotes.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"I'll Know" from Musicnotes.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"I've Never Been In Love Before" from Musicnotes.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"If I Were A Bell" from Musicnotes.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"Sue Me" from Musicnotes.com Instant digital download sheet music.

Making of Guys and DollsThe Making of Guys and Dolls (Great Broadway Musicals) from Amazon.com Keith Garebian's look into the behind the scenes work that goes into creating a great Broadway musical.

Guys and Dolls: The Stories of Damon Runyon from Amazon.com The collection of New York short stories that was developed into the full length stage musical.

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