This Christmas director Michael Buffong transports the smash-hit musical Guys and Dolls up-town to 1939 Harlem in the UK’s first all-black cast production of the iconic show.
Celebrating the off-beat stories of Damon Runyon that made the gangsters and hustlers of New York City infamous, Guys and Dolls is being co-produced by the Royal Exchange Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company.
Ray Fearon leads the cast as gambler Nathan Detroit. He is joined by Ashley Zhangazha, Abiona Omonua and Lucy Vandi.
The rest of the cast is Fela Lufadeju, Javar La’Trail Parker, Trevor A Toussaint, Chelsey Emery, Jaime Tait, T’Shan Williams, Ewen Cummins, Kurt Kansley, Darren Charles, Nathanael Campbell, Toyan Thomas-Browne, Evonnee Bentley-Holder, Melanie Marshall, Joe Speare, Koko Basigara and Danielle Kassaraté.
Director Michael Buffong, also artistic director of Talawa, said: “Pre-war Harlem was all about the hustle.
“The creativity of that era was born from a unique collision of talent and circumstance as people escaped the agricultural and oppressive South via the ‘underground railroad’ into the highly urbanised and industrialised North.
“Much of our popular culture, from dance to music, has its roots in that period. Our Guys and Dolls brings all of this to the fore, in superb, celebratory style.”
Nathan Detroit (Ray Fearon) and Sky Masterson (Ashley Zhangazha) take every opportunity to hustle, settling every dispute with a roll of the dice.
Lady Luck is on their side, until one night they both take a chance on love.
The reimagined production has been developed with the award winning hip-hop dancer and choreographer Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy.
Guys and Dolls runs at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, from December 2 – January 27.