To turnabout an old adage, "If at first you wildly succeed, try, try again."
That may be the thought at Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson as it launches its third take on the blockbuster Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, opening Thursday and continuing through Feb. 23.
The romantic comedy, first played in the summer of 1997, was the first Broadway show ever done at the Show Palace. It was such a hit with audiences (and so often requested) that the owners brought it back in October 2001, tripling the attendance from the first time around.
To up the chances it will again draw crowds, owners Tommy and Vicki Mara have brought back Steven Flaa to once more direct the show, as well as one of the theater's most successful and energetic choreographers, Andi Sperduti-Garner, musical director Phyllis Gessler and a 23-member cast that includes many Show Palace favorites and some highly credentialed newcomers.
Based on the Damon Runyon tales of the gambling guys and dancing dolls who inhabit the lower social echelons of 1950s Times Square, it features Abe Burrows' clever book and Frank Loesser's sparkling score — If I Were a Bell, Luck Be a Lady, Sit Down Down, You're Rockin' the Boat, and the sweetly cynical Marry the Man Today (And Change His Ways Tomorrow).
The plot swirls around smooth-talking gambler Sky Masterson (Brian Minyard, Capt. Von Trapp in Sound of Music), compulsive gambler Nathan Detroit (Tom Bengston) and the longest-running floating crap game under the streets of New York.
Sky will bet on anything, but gets his biggest challenge when Nathan bets him he can't get the next girl they see to fall for him. The next girl turns out to be the prim and proper Miss Sarah Brown (Heather Baird, Irene in Hello, Dolly!), leading lady of the Salvation Army street band and professional saver of souls. This means that Sky must be his most charming (and deceptive) if he wants to win his wager.
Meanwhile, Nathan organizes the biggest crap game ever to take place in the sewers of New York, inviting the most notorious Chicago gambler, Big Jule (Pete Clapsis, Franklin in 9 to 5) and his pals, to join them. Nathan gets so busy trying to find a spot for the event, he completely forgets he's promised to meet his fiancee of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (Ellie Pattison, Show Palace debut), lead dancer at the Hot Box nightclub, to finally get married.
This leads to Adelaide's Lament, where she explains in her best Bronx accent that such disappointments year after year could give "a poi-sun a ko-uf" and encourages her to tell Nathan to Take Back Your Mink (Take Back Your Poi-uls).
Guys and Dolls won the 1950 Tony Award for Best Musical, was made into a movie in 1955 starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, had several award-winning Broadway revivals and has been produced in several countries.
Critic John Chapman of New York's Daily News called it "a perfect musical comedy."