The University of Chicago News Office
Jan. 28, 2004

Court Theatre re-imagines one of Broadway's greatest classic musicals, Guys and Dolls
Jan. 22 - March 28, 2004

    Press Contact:

Bill Massolia
Director of Marketing and Communications
Court Theatre
(773) 702-7242


CHICAGO, January 6, 2004 - Court Theatre continues its 49th season of “classics like you’ve never seen them before” under the leadership of Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Diane Claussen, with one of Broadway’s Classic Musicals, the Tony Award winning “fable of Broadway” Guys and Dolls.

Under the direction of Court’s Charles Newell and based on Damon Runyon’s collection of short stories with music & lyrics by Frank Loesser and a book by Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows, Guys and Dolls uses an irresistible blend of satire and romance to tell the story about the unlikely love match between a slick Broadway gambler and a pure at heart Save-A-Soul mission worker. Guys and Dolls features a cast of Chicago favorites that includes Heidi Kettenring, Susan Moniz, David New and Scott Parkinson.

Guys and Dolls begins previews Thursday, Jan 22, 2004. Press opening is Saturday, January 31, at 8:00 p.m. Tickets to Guys and Dolls range from $26-$50, and are on sale now. Performances run Wednesday through Sunday, through March 28, 2004 in Court Theatre's intimate 251-seat Abelson Auditorium. Court Theatre is located at 5535 S. Ellis Ave. in Chicago, on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. For tickets and information, call the Court Theatre Box Office, (773) 753-4472, or purchase tickets online at

Guys and Dolls continues Court Theatre’s exploration of the musical theatre canon by following up on their highly successful productions of James Joyce’s “The Dead” and My Fair Lady. Court Theatre views musical theatre as our country’s seminal art form that had its beginnings in colonial America—and over time became integrated into Minstrel Shows, Burlesque and Vaudeville and finally to what we are familiar with today—the American Musical Theatre. Guys and Dolls is a quintessential American musical that has elements of both Burlesque and Vaudeville. Based on Damon Runyon’s Jazz Age experiences when he was a reporter at William Randolph Hearst’s New York American, Guys and Dolls presents New York in the 1920s, and is specifically drawn from the short story “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown,” which first appeared in the January 28, 1932, issue of Colliers. Runyon based a number of characters and places on those he knew or had encountered, scarcely masking his characters’ and locales’ identities (the famous deli Lindy’s, for instance, became Mindy’s).

When Guys and Dolls the musical opened on November 24, 1950, it became one of the great successes of Broadway history running for 1,200 performances and winning five Tony Awards including ‘Best Musical.’ It was subsequently made into a feature film starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, this romantic comedy—considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy—introduces us to a cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the music theatre canon as they take us from Times Square, the cafes of Havana, Cuba and even to the sewers of New York City.

Three gamblers—Nicely-Nicely (Jeff Dumas), Benny (Neil Friedman) and Rusty Charlie (Ben Dicke)—are found pouring over the day’s racing form in a studied effort to pick the winners. They hear on the street all the hot gamblers are in town, and they’re depending on Nathan Detroit (Scott Parkinson) to set up this week’s incarnation of “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York”; the only problem is, he needs $1,000 to get the place. Throw in Sarah Brown (Susan Moniz), who’s short on sinners at the mission she runs; Sky Masterson (David New), who accepts Nathan’s $1,000 bet that he can’t get Sarah Brown to go with him to Havana; Miss Adelaide (Heidi Kettenring), who wants Nathan to marry her; Police Lieutenant Brannigan (Don Forston), who always seems to appear at the wrong time, and you have the colorful and picturesque world of Guys and Dolls. Dan Allar, Lance Baker, Kelsey Collins, Duane Sharpe, Tina Thuerwatchter and four onstage musicians under the direction of Music Director Doug Peck complete the cast of Guys and Dolls.

Charles Newell (Director) has been Artistic Director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over 20 productions. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph of Love, which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Directorial credits at Court include The Romance Cycle, James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Hamlet, Piano, The Invention of Love, The Little Foxes, The Cherry Orchard, Nora, Misanthrope, and Travesties. Mr. Newell has also directed at the Guthrie Theatre (Resident Director: The History Cycle, Cymbeline), Arena Stage, John Houseman’s The Acting Company (Staff Repertory Director), the California and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, Juilliard, and New York University; he is the recipient of the 1992 TCG Alan Schneider Director Award and is a multiple Jeff Award Recipient/Nominee. He sits on the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group and has served on several panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. He recently made his directorial debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago this fall with Marc Blitzstein’s Regina.

Doug Peck (Music Director) returns to Court Theatre after music directing James Joyce’s “The Dead.” His music direction credits include Into the Woods (Triton College), This Just In: The Waa-Mu Show 2003 (Northwestern University), and two summers as Music Director of the Wagon Wheel Theatre, where he directed Phantom, Titanic, and Hello, Dolly! Peck is a Northwestern graduate, and also works as a vocal coach for theatre and opera singers.

The design team for Guys and Dolls includes John Culbert (set), Rachel Healey (costumes), Michelle Habeck (lights) and Josh Horvath (Sound).

John Culbert (Set Designer) recently designed scenery for Court Theatre’s The Romance Cycle and lighting for Hamlet. He received a Joseph Jefferson Award for his lighting design for Court’s production of The Triumph of Love. He has also received Jeff nominations for Mirror of the Invisible World at the Goodman and Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards, Serious Money, Candida, Electra, The Misanthrope, and The Little Foxes at Court.

Rachel Anne Healy (Costume Designer) makes her debut at Court Theatre with Guys and Dolls. Her other design credits include: selected plays for the Albee Festival and Lobby Hero at the Goodman, numerous productions with Writers’ Theatre and several designs for Northlight Theatre including the upcoming production of Lady Windermere’s Fan.

Michelle Habeck (Lighting Designer) returns to Court after designing lights for last season production of The Romance Cycle. Other design credits include, Broadway: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Projection Design (also National Tour & London) Goodman Theatre’s Lobby Hero and The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, Steppenwolf Theatre’s Ten Percent Of Molly Snyder, Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Amber Waves, and An Almost Holy Picture, The Swine Palace Repertory Theatre’s Waiting for Godot and Northlight Theatre’s A Skull In Connemara.

Joshua Horvath (Sound Designer) is back at Court after designing last season’s The Romance Cycle. Other credits include: Winesburg, Ohio, Jesus Hopped the A’ Train, Taking Care at Steppenwolf, Hannah and Martin at Timeline, Nocturne at Naked Eye, Raising Voices and Xena Lives at About Face and The Spitfire Grill, Dirty Blonde, and Jammin with Pops at Apple Tree.

Guys and Dolls will be presented Thursday, Jan. 22 - Sunday, March. 28, 2004 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave., in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, on the University of Chicago campus. Preview times Jan. 22 Jan. 30 are: Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Previews ticket prices are $26 - $30. Press opening is Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. Performances run through Sunday, March 28: Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Regular performance ticket prices are $35 - $50. Call the Court Theatre Box Office, (773) 753-4472, stop by 5535 S. Ellis Ave., or visit Court online at for tickets and information.

Senior and student discounts are available. Half-price Rush tickets go on sale at the box office one hour before the performance, subject to availability. Call Diane Osolin at (773) 753-4472 for group discounts. Free, covered parking is available in the parking garage just north of the theatre. ABC 7Chicago is the exclusive corporate sponsor of Guys and Dolls with additional support provided by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and The Fashion Group Foundation of Chicago.

A Look Ahead to the remainder of Court Theatre’s 2003/2004 Season

Court Theatre’s fourth production of 2003/04, Francesca Faridany’s new adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s 1924 novella FRÄULEIN ELSE, is a provocative and disturbing classic drama. The story reveals the choices a young woman must make when caught between the needs of her somewhat unlovable father, her own needs to be loved by someone and the most compelling need of all—to love herself. April 22 May 16, 2004 (Press Opening May 1, 2004, 8 p.m.)

Court Theatre continues to re-imagine classic work in a co-production with Chicago’s acclaimed Redmoon Theater, combining their formidable talents and creating a world premiere adaptation of the famous French play CYRANO by Edmond Rostand. This collaboration will draw on Redmoon’s visual artistry and expertise with spectacle, puppets and manipulated objects, while Court will lead an exploration of the splendor and humor in the play’s language. Charming and beautifully poetic this romantic tale of the tragic poet-lover with the face of a clown will be co-directed by Charles Newell and Redmoon Theater’s Artistic Director Jim Lasko in a new adaptation by Mickle Maher, commissioned by Court and Redmoon Theater. Presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. May 20 June 27, 2004 (Press Opening May 29, 2004, 8 p.m.)

For information, call the Court Theatre Box Office, (773) 753-4472, or visit Court’s website, Court Theatre is partially supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; by a CityArts Program IV grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
Last modified at 12:10 PM CST on Wednesday, January 28, 2004.

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