​‘Guys, dolls’ take stage at Lyric

Thursday, March 27, 2014

By Shelley Koppel
Staff writer
 STUART — The musical “Guys and Dolls” is one of the best-loved in musical theater. A Tony-winner for Best Musical when it debuted in 1950, it has had several successful Broadway revivals. The book is by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and the lyrics, those wonderful lyrics, are by Frank Loesser.

The Lyric Theatre will stage a concert version of the musical April 10-13 with a cast of Lyric favorites including Lorrianna Colozzo as Sarah Brown, Karin Leone as Adelaide, Nestor Torres as Sky Masterson and Sarge as Nathan Detroit. Local celebrity Greg Rice will play Big Jule. The Lyric’s executive director, John Loesser, has dubbed them “The Lyric All-Stars.”

 If the name Loesser sounds familiar, John Loesser is, indeed, Frank Loesser’s son and he knows something about staging this show.

 “I’ve produced versions of it before, but this is the first time in concert,” he said. “It will be the whole show without sets and costumes. It will be all the music, with an orchestra, and all the dialogue. Only a narrator is added to tell us why we’re going where we are.”

 Veteran journalist Knight Kiplinger, head of the Kiplinger financial media company and a singer in the Washington Chorus, will serve as narrator.  Loesser said there will also be surprises along the way.

 “We intend to embellish it a little bit,” he said. “Nestor Torres, who is known for his flute work, does sing. We are going to give him some liberties with the Havana number to jump on his flute. Nestor is very musical and should do a great job. The minute I met Sarge, he was a natural Nathan to me. I designed the casting with local hometown favorites and he’s been playing at the Lyric for many years. He’s making his musical comedy stage debut.”

 The two female leads, Lorrianna Colozzo and Karin Leone, are also well-known to Lyric audiences. Colozzo, who is an opera singer, has given concerts at the Lyric for several years. Leone, the Lyric’s director of operations and education, has appeared in many area productions.

 Colozzo is excited about playing Sarah Brown, the prim and proper missionary trying to save souls in New York City.

 “I get to be a singer and play a part,” she said. “Lately, I’ve been in my own shows. Out’s nice to be in a well-written musical like “Guys and Dolls. Sarah Brown is a role I’m so excite to take on. She’s a great character, as strong woman who believes she knows what she wants. Who wouldn’t love to play that? She learns a lot about herself and gets what she wants.

 “I’ve always loved that musical and Frank Loesser’s music is some of my favorite. To work closely on this project with his son is really an honor. It’s a great role for my vocal range.  I love, ‘If I Were a Bell.’ It’s so
beautifully written, it brings you back to the great American Broadway writing.  I’m (also) going to be working opposite some great people.”

 Karin Leone, who plays Adelaide, has some of the best songs in the show, including “Adelaide’s Lament,” and “Take Back Your Mink.” It’s a role any female performer would relish, as she struggles to get Nathan Detroit to end their lengthy engagement and marry her.

 “She’s fun,” Leone said. “She’s a tortured woman in a difficult sort of way.”

 John Loesser noted that just as an organization like the Salvation Army is integral to the plot, so will it be integral to this production.
 The Martin County Salvation Army will be on stage,” he said. “It’s a partial fundraiser for them. This was a natural and we’re happy they’re participating.”

 Just before this production’s rehearsals take place, Loesser will be going to New York City   for a concert version of “Guys and Dolls” at Carnegie Hall. It’s a benefit concert and he sees this as a trend.
 “Musicals are expensive to produce,” he said. “It’s a way of getting them out there. It’s for more economical and contained. I might pick up a trick or two.”

 Loesser said that the emphasis in the show is on fun and good music.

 “I’m thrilled with the cast,” he said. “I’m very happy we were able to cast it with hometown favorites at the Lyric. It will be a lot of fun.”
 The Lyric Theatre, 59 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart, presents the Lyric All-Stars in a concert version of the Frank Loesser musical, “Guys and Dolls” from April 10-13.

 Performances are April 10-12 at 7 p.m. and April 12-14 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $45. Call the box office at (772) 286-7827 or order online at www.lyrictheatre.com.