TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse Symphony Orchestra will tap into its theatrical side Sunday when it presents a full concert production of the musical “Guys and Dolls.”
“Concert form means there’s no dancing, minimal staging, minimal costuming,” said show director Rick Church, who is mounting the production with TSO conductor Kevin Rhodes. “It’s exciting because you get to relish in the music.”
The orchestra will accompany the NMC Grand Traverse Chorale and Chamber Singers and a cast of local and regional vocalists led by Jane Rhodes (Adelaide) and Lynne Church (Sarah Brown) of Traverse City, Scott Skiba (Sky Masterson) of Interlochen, and Paul Truckey (Nathan Detroit) of Marquette.
“These are all wonderful, talented people who could have careers anywhere,” said Rick Church, soloist Lynne Church's husband, and a long-time vocal coach in New York City. “Take Paul Truckey. He was seven years in (Broadway and National Tour productions of) ‘Les Miserables.’ He chose, like Lynne and I, to move to Michigan to be with family.”
Based on a short story by Damon Runyon, “Guys and Dolls” revolves around the "professional" and romantic complications of New York floating crap game organizer Nathan Detroit and his fellow gambler, Sky Masterson. When Nathan bets Sky that Sky can't charm the next girl Nathan sees — Save-a-Soul Mission reformer Miss Sarah Brown — Sky sweeps Sarah to Havana, where the two fall in love. Meanwhile, Nathan keeps jilting Miss Adelaide, the nightclub chanteuse to whom he has been engaged for 14 years.
“It’s really just about a beautiful couple and how they fall in love somewhere they would never have expected it,” said Church, also interim music director for musical theater programs at Elon University in North Carolina.
The show's score is generally considered to be among the greatest in American theater history, with two of its tunes becoming jazz standards recorded by Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and others. Familiar songs include "Luck Be a Lady," “Bushel and a Peck,” “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “If I Were a Bell.”