Cultural Park Theatre's first big musical of the new year opens tonight in Cape Coral.
"Guys and Dolls," a classic musical comedy, will run through Feb. 17 with the show times on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.
"We start the year off with a comedy, followed by one of our bigger musicals," Michael Moran, executive director at the Cultural Park Theatre, said Thursday.
Diana Ascher and Andy Spalding star as Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson in Cape Coral’s Cultural Park Theatre’s production of Guys & Dolls which opens tonight.
The 2013-14 Broadway season kicked off in September, with four musicals and six plays on the schedule. After "Guys and Dolls," the remaining productions will include the musical "Smokey Joe's Cafe" and the comedic plays "I Remember Mama" and "A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody."
"Guys and Dolls" is based on two short stories, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure." The story takes place in the late 1940s or early 1950s in New York City.
"There are a lot of gamblers that play dice and gamble," he said.
* Today, Jan. 31, through Feb. 17: "Guys and Dolls"
* March 7-16:
"I Remember Mama"
* March 28 through April 13: "Smokey Joe's Cafe"
* April 25 through May 4:
"A Little Murder
Never Hurt Anybody"
* Feb. 28 and March 1-2: Harold Ford's Johnny Cash tribute
* May 10: Second annual Marquee Awards
* May 25: Gene Ferrari's Tom Jones tribute
The cast of 32 is comprised of several supporting roles and four lead characters, including Nathan Detroit, played by James Clayton; Sarah Brown, played by Diana Ascher; Miss Adelaide, played by Katie Raleigh; and Sky Masterson, played by Andy Spalding. The cast rehearsed for over a month.
Moran explained that Nathan is the local guy who books the gambling locations and is dating a performer at a nightclub, Adelaide. There is also a group of local missionaries, led by Sarah.
"They're out trying to get everybody to stop gambling," he said. "And put a stop to all the sin and corruption."
Sarah soon meets Sky, one of the big gamblers in town.
"While they're away and they get to know each other, they fall in love," he said. "He actually falls in love with her. He becomes a good guy and doesn't try to use her anymore."
"He makes a bet with Nathan that he can get Sarah Brown to go to Cuba with him," Moran said.
Sky tries everything to get Sarah to go. She resists him, before finally giving in.
Upon their return to New York, the couple gets the gamblers into the missionary and marry.
"It winds up with a big happy ending," Moran said.
Frank Loesser wrote the music for the production, and the musical includes 19 main songs.
"Some of the well-known songs are the gamblers' 'Fugue for Tinhorns,' and 'Guys and Dolls' is the actual title song of the show," he said.
Other popular tunes include "I've Never Been in Love Before," "Luck Be a Lady," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" and "Sue Me," which Frank Sinatra made popular in the 1955 movie.
"It's one of the classic original-style musicals that everybody just loves listening to," Moran said. "When you leave the theater, you'll be humming the tunes."
"It's light, humorous. It's good entertainment," he said.
The musical is just over two hours long and includes a 15-minute intermission between acts. The show is under the direction of June Koc. Moran designed the set, and the choreographer was Bobbi Frasca.
"We're really happy with advance tickets sales with this one. It is selling so fast though it is unbelievable," Moran said. "People really need to get them (tickets) ahead of time."
Tickets cost $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $12 for students.
Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more.
"We're also considering holding it over for an added weekend," he said.
A decision on an additional weekend may be made by Feb. 10.
Moran explained that Cultural Park Theatre's strong point is the big musicals, so "Guys and Dolls" enables the theater and cast to put their best foot forward. He encouraged the public to attend.
"It's a great way to come out and introduce the whole family to musicals," Moran said.
"It's family entertainment," he added. "It's just a very enjoyable evening."
Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. performance weekends.
Along with the plays and musicals, the season features six special events, or concerts.
Among the remaining events for the 2013-14 season are impersonator Harold Ford and his Johnny Cash tribute on Feb. 28 and March 1-2, followed by Cultural Park Theatre's second annual Marquee Awards in May. Gene Ferrari's tribute performance of Tom Jones is the final event, set for May 25.
Cultural Park Theatre is at 528 Cultural Park Blvd.
For tickets or more information, call (239) 772-5862 or visit: www.culturalparktheater.com/.