Buzz Worthy

Guys, dolls and good times

Guys who get their kicks making silly quips and gambling.

Dolls with dreams of nothing more than marriage.

A happy ending that comes a bit too easily -- even by musical theater standards.

Since debuting on Broadway in 1950, “Guys and Dolls” has remained hugely popular.

Although more dated than other classics from the period such as “The King and I” (1951) and “My Fair Lady” (1956), the musical based on Damon Runyon characters has an inherent, timeless charm.

“Guys and Dolls,” done right, transports audiences back to a highly romanticized version of Prohibition-era New York City, zipping along with superb songs and snappy wisecracks.

Multiple Great White Way revivals as recent as 2009.

The hit 1955 movie starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine regularly airing on television.

People dig “Guys and Dolls.”

Especially here.

The Manatee Players’ production sold out its entire run in record time before opening Feb. 17.

It will continue to be seen at the Riverfront Theatre in downtown Bradenton through March 6.

Director Jared Walker’s staging doesn’t exactly sizzle, but it’s fun.

The cast makes the most of jokes about Studebakers, psychology and sinning.

The male actors crank up cartoonish “Noo Yawk” accents.

John Andruzzi offers an over-the-top but endearing Nathan Detroit, the small-time gambler desperately seeking a location for his clandestine operation.

Marc Lalosh offers a more subtle Sky Masterson, the high roller turned holy roller, and does a serviceable job with songs made famous by Sinatra.

Jessica Morrow shines -- mostly when singing -- as the pious and pretty Sarah Brown, who reforms Sky.

Helen Holliday, turns in the most polished performance, earning laughs and sympathy as nightclub singer Miss Adelaide, who suffers from a chronic cold because Nathan won’t marry her after 14 years of being engaged.

“Guys and Dolls” never reaches greatness.

But it’s a good time.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057. Visit his blog at