“every day I change my mind as to which song is the show stealer!”

I’m writing this note in a bit of an omicron limbo. Will there be anyone in the audience to read it? Will there even be a show that needs a programme that needs a director’s note? Like so many creatives, we have once again found ourselves faced with the unenviable task of making and performing in spite of coronavirus.

We are all so excited to be returning to the Gala Theatre with the fabulous ‘Guys and Dolls’. It’s been amazing to be back rehearsing with a large group and we feel very lucky to be putting together this production: Frank Loesser’s golden age musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ is a story of love, loyalty, and gambling in 1950s New York. Sister Sarah Brown strives to be the best and spread goodness as she battles the charms and advances of the mischievous Sky Masterson, whilst Miss Adelaide pines and laments the lack of a wedding ring on her left hand. Her poor fiancé Nathan Detroit doesn’t stand a chance. It quickly becomes clear that these guys and dolls are hopelessly attached to each other, no matter how they roll the dice…

And what a show it is. ‘Guys and Dolls’ has cemented itself as one of the most beloved musicals of all time, and for good reason. I for one have been listening to the incredible soundtrack on repeat for around 3 months, and every day I change my mind as to which song is the show stealer! Frank Loesser’s score offers us banger after banger, and the script by the great Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling ties it all together perfectly. Meanwhile, no expense has been spared in transforming the wonderful Gala theatre into Damon Runyon’s postcardesque New York City. I hope you’ll agree that it’s a real spectacle!

This show is brought to you by the most talented group of performers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Mainstays of Durham Student Theatre, alongside the finest singing talent, alongside the strongest of dancers. Not to mention an exceptional crop of freshers and first timers who I’m sure will grace Durham stages many times over. They’ve gelled together remarkably and taken on everything we’ve thrown at them, with no task too daunting and no piece of direction too weird! Their ‘Guys and Dolls’ is an absolute treat and I can’t wait to share it with you. I’m also grateful to our incredible production and tech team. Clocking in at 30 people, it’s been a gargantuan team effort. They’ve given everything I could have possibly asked for – organisation, creativity, fun, generosity, calm, not to mention keeping me in check!

This group of 70 of Durham’s finest creatives have worked relentlessly and unfazed throughout an uncertain period, producing some incredible work which is really worth seeing! I can’t thank them enough for the way they’ve all rolled with the punches and sustained such positive attitudes. We can assure you that plenty of precautions have been taken, so you can be confident of your safety whilst you escape into the show.

So, here’s to hoping we all make it to the theatre in one piece! We hope you enjoy the show.

‘Guys and Dolls’ is playing at the Gala Theatre from Jan 18-22

By Guy Rapacioli