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Zaks's secret in directing the revival is to trick himself into thinking that he is getting first shot at the material

[[Image – a showgirl dancing in a tall headdress, in a kind of Merry  Widow with a long filmy skirt which she is holding in her outstretched arms – it shows off her legs; caption – Faith Prince is hilarious as the adenoidal Miss Adelaide, the "well-known fiancee"; attribution – Martha Swope]]
tions and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) can't help but smile when asked why he wanted to resurrect the property – other than the obvious. "That IS the reason," he shoots back. "Our little company makes a mistake, on a regular basis, to do things we really like – it's a real problem in this business – but this is something we couldn't pass up. We're all in this silly business because of some disease, and Guys and Dolls is the germ that infects us. There's something singular about it in American musical literature that makes it stand out to us and,I think, to a lot of other people."

His proof is how quickly the project fell into place: "I'd love to say, 'We gathered together the greatest team to do this,' but we didn't do it. We just said, 'We'e doing the show,' and the best in this business flocked to us."

To give these "best" enough creative room to do their best called for "abut $5.5 million - less than a monstrous British musical - but it's the most anybody has spent on an R," David notes, adding a postcript which spells out that initial: "We don't use the word 'revival.'"

Be that as it may, revival is a word Zaks revels in, having helmed Tony-winning revivals of The House of Blue Leaves and Anything Goes and a Tony-nominated one of The Front Page. All three were impeccably cast and included performances (several Tony-winning ones) that seemed sculptured into place – fresher than the law of diminishing returns allows.

Zaks's secret lies simply in tricking himself into thinking he's getting the first shot at the material. "I don't like the word 'revival,'" he admits. "We're just doing a new version of what I perceive to be a classic. When you go over to England and see the Royal Shakespeare doing Richard I or Henry V, nobody refers to them as revivals over there. 'We're doing a play.' My point is: I wouldn't know how to think of Guys and Dolls as a revival. I think of it as a new show. That's the excitement in it. It's the version of the show I'd like to think I would've done had never been done before."

Ensemble acting is a specialty with Zaks, who began as an actor and thus has a first-person insight into the craft. Were he to stake out a role for himself among the mangy menagerie of Guys and Dolls, it would be that of Nathan Detroit – the crap-shooting kingpin who, while eluding the marital news of his ever-lovin' Adelaide, bets highroller Sky Masterson he can't bed a high-collared mission broad Sarah Brown. But directing has ballooned Zaks's perspective beyond the demands of a single role. "I find myself pretending to be all of them. It's much more fun – you can do that when you're directing. 

"I see this as two wonderful love stories,

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