There’s a new show in town, and by town I mean midtown Manhattan because that is the only place where the action is at this particular time. It’s what they call a revival, because they’ve done it before and the big cats with the potatoes figure it’s better than even money there’s more to be made if they run the game again.
It brings to mind a story about a guy who went with his doll to see a show in tinseltown, or rather as close as you can get without actually being there. That would be in San Diego about 15 years ago. Well this show just happened to be the very same “Guys and Dolls” and this guy was sort of nutso about the musical numbers. He said he had seen the show back in the 50s in New York, and has never forgotten the music. His kids have seen the show and he says his kids have not forgotten the music. One special song was “My Time of Day”, and he said he was really disappointed, to say the least, that it was not in the San Diego production. Not only that, the guy was especially irritated that it was missing from the movie as well. Well, this guy is still in America’s Finest City and his New York connections have let him know that the number is definitely in this latest production. So that’s some good news.
But there is another song that is really the point of the story. In the show, a character named Nicely Nicely Johnson testifies in a Salvation Army meeting about a dream he had about his gambling. It’s called, “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat”. Well this guy is telling his doll, and Pat and Brian, who he pals around with, how great this song is. They, who do not wish to offend this guy, politely listen. Now at the intermission, and the song has not yet played, this guy’s doll is going down the stairs and stumbles, through no fault of her own, or anybody else’s that he can figure. So there’s nothing to do but make the best of it. It seems like a sprain that will get better with a little ice. Now this doll is a good sport, but her ankle is giving her a real pain, so she lays it on him: “Let’s go home now”. Now this is definitely not a request that he wishes to hear at this particular time, seeing he has not yet heard his favorite song, and also because he figures the odds are, with her ankle and all, that her request to go home does not mean what it sometimes means.
As I said this guy is a little nutso, so instead of taking her home, he leans on the bartender to provide a plastic bag filled with ice, and lays it on his girl’s ankle. She, being the classy lady that she is, does not wish to make a scene, and so they go back for the final act, and they hear the song, and then climb into their wheels for home, ice bag and all.
The last I hear is that they find the doll’s ankle actually is actually broken that night. Well actually, it’s not actually last I hear of it, because I’me the guy, and you can imagine that the story does come up every now and then.
One more thing: Go on Amazon.com and order Damon Runyon’s book of short stories, “Guys and Dolls” on which the musical was based. The language is there, and the characters are there, including Sky Masterson, Nathan Detroit, and, it turns out, a character whose original moniker was Nicely Nice Jones, not Johnson. Reading the book is like getting an expanded version of the show, along with a number of readable back stories. Order a used copy, and including shipping, it’ll set you back less than a sawbuck.
Now I personally try to go to every production of Guys and Dolls that I can manage to get to. However, the word on the street, and the reviews of the New York critics, are such that this show is definitely one that could be sneezed at. So my sincere recommendation is that you save the potatoes and order the book instead.