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HIGH ROLLER 

Director Jerry Zaks's revival of Guys and Dolls is a winner with the biggest opening day ticket sale in B'way history

[[Image – a man in a blue pinstripe suit, dark shirt and white tie is being hugged from behind by a woman in a skirt and blouse; her arms are around his midsection while his arms are folded on top of hers; caption: Josie de Guzman and Peter Gallagher are unlikely lovers in Guys and Dolls (Martin Beck); attribution: Martha Swope]]
The day it rained raves for Guys and Dolls, that 42-year-old musical came back to Broadway with the biggest bang possible: Almost 7,000 tickets were slipped through the Martin back box-office window into the outstretched hands of future customers, marking what Variety called the biggest opening day in Broadway history ($396,709.50) and bring that distinction back to the Yanks from the Brits who'd held it since the record ($359,000) set by the Phantom of the Opera in 1988.

New Yorkers would want it no other way, and doubtlessly the critical fire-and-like show that greeted the musical's triumphant reemergence had a lot to do with this commercial stampede. There was something elegantly understated about the enthusiasm of professional aislemen clicking their heels:

*"Here is a dream come true. As close to perfection as you can wish." – Frank Rich, The New York Times.

*"A revival to treasure." – Howard Kissel, The New York Daily News.

*"The ultimate musical comedy. As perfectly crafted as Tiffany's finest." – Dennis Cunningham, WCBS-TV.

*"If you have one musical to see on Broadway, make it this and make it quick." – Clive Barnes, New York Post.

*"Hurry to the box office and get your tickets before it's sold out, possibly for years!" – Stewart Klein, Fox 5.

Extravagant as this praise is, it's not a new thing with this musical. The Guys and Dolls tumbling out of Dir. Jerry Zaks's clown car graduated, cum rowdy, from the Broadway Class of 1950 – and the spring in their step, still buoyant, is a testament to the timelessness of the Jo Swerling-Abe Burrows book (from Damon Runyon's short stories, notably "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown") and Frank Loesser's words and music.

John Chapman, then Daily News drama critic, thought its musical book outpointed any straight play of that season, packed as it was with referentially winning caricatures from that mythic Midtown kingdom called Runyonland.

And, of course, Loesser was more: "Adelaide's Lament," "A Bushel and a Peck," "If I Were a Bell," "Fugue for Tinhorns," "Sit down, You're Rocking the Boat," "Luck Be a Lady," "The Oldest Established," "Sue Me," "Marry the Man Today," "I'll Know," "I've Never Been in Love Before," "More I Cannot Wish You," et al., forevermore.

So Michael David of Dodger Productions (which produced the current reincarnation with Roger Berlind, Jujamycn Theaters/TV ASAHI, Kardona Produc-

16 by Harry Haun
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