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Guys and Dolls is a 1950 musical comedy with lyrics by by Frank Loesser and a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It was based heavily on two short stories by Damon Runyon, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure", with smaller elements from his other stories. The original Broadway production was nominated for five Tony awards, winning all of them, including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical (Robert Alda as Sky Masterson).
The plot centers on Sky Masterson, a chronic high-rolling gambler, and Sarah Brown, a mission worker in New York City. When fellow gambler Nathan Detroit finds himself in need of $1,000, Nathan bets Sky he cannot get Sarah to go to Havana with him. Hilarity Ensues. Other players include Adelaide, Nathan's long-suffering long-time fiancee, Sarah's uncle Arvide, and an ensemble of gamblers hanging around Nathan including Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Benny Southstreet, and Harry the Horse.
Most famous song is "Luck Be a Lady", with "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" in a close second.
Includes examples of:
- Absurdly High Stakes Game: Not only does "Sky" Masterson get his name from this, there's also his high-stakes roll at the craps game - $1,000 for every man, against their souls (and attendance at the Save-a-Soul mission).
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Enough for a big ol' dance number.
- All Musicals Are Adaptations
- Ambiguously Jewish: Nathan & Adelaide
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: A drunk Sarah keeps coming on to Sky, but he decides to take her back to New York because he doesn't want to "win with loaded dice".
- The Bet
- Beta Couple: In terms of general role, Nathan and Adelaide; but both in stage time and importance to the story, they're pretty much equal. The emotional climax ("Marry the Man Today") is, after all, about both couples, and the end of the show only comes when Nathan and Adelaide are actually married.
- Bikini Bar: The Hot Box. Word of God says it's pretty much a toned down strip club.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: Mentioned in a song.
- Chorus Girls: The Hot Box girls
- Cut Song: "Traveling Light"
- Deconfirmed Bachelor: Sky Masterson.
Sky: "I suppose one of these days you'll be getting married."
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Sky tries to do this with Sarah.
- Delusions of Eloquence: One of the Trope Codifiers.
- Dialogue Reversal: "Chemistry?" "Yeah, chemistry."
- Drunken Song: "If I were a bell".
- Embarrassing First Name: If my first name was Obadiah? I'd call myself "Sky" too.
- Fixing the Game: Big Jule's dice are spotless. But he remembers where they were and is happy to tell you what he rolled.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: The 2005 reboot in London starred Ewan McGregor as Sky.
- Hypochondria: Nathan Detroit's fiancee Adelaide is a hypochondriac, as shown in the song "Adelaide's Lament."
- I Can Change My Beloved: "Marry the Man Today" ("and change his ways tomorrow!") is all about this, and indeed it seems to work out well enough for Sarah.
- Incessant Chorus: "Follow the Fold".
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Nathan actually did have to go to a prayer meeting, but Adelaide still doesn't believe him.
- Irrelevant Act Opener: "Take Back Your Mink" and (in a rare Act One example) "Fugue For Tinhorns."
- Kiss Kiss Slap: After some verbal sparring, Sarah Brown looks like she'll be won over by Sky randomly making out with her, but then she hits him. Hard. She's okay with kissing him later, though.
- Loveable Rogue: Both Sky and Nathan fit.
- The Magic Crap Shoot Calculation
- Milholland Relationship Moment: When Sky confesses about The Bet.
- Mobile Kiosk: The opening scene has a pitchman and his female accomplice whose pitch is a box with fixed legs.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Many of the gamblers, including Sky.
- Opening Ballet
- Overly Narrow Superlative: "It's the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York."
- Pretty in Mink: The song "Take Back Your Mink"
- Professional Gambler: Most of the (male) characters.
- Rewritten Pop Version: A gambling-free version of "Fugue For Tinhorns" called "Three-Cornered Tune"
- Second Face Smoke: During the title song, there's a sight gag where a doll who's been shopping does this to her hapless guy who carries all her packages and lights her cigarette.
- Sidekick Song: "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" for Nicely-Nicely.
- Those Two Guys: Nicely and Benny.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Harry the Horse and Big Jule.
- Unsuspectingly Soused:Sarah after drinking Dulce de Leche
- Verbal Tic Name: Nicely-Nicely Johnson.
- Westminster Chimes: The play-out of "If I Were A Bell".