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Springfield Little Theatre closes the season with 'Guys and Dolls'

Courtesy Springfield Little Theatre

The 89th season of Springfield Little Theatre at the Landers wraps up this weekend with a classic: Frank Loesser's musical comedy adaptation of short stories by Damon Runyon, "Guys and Dolls."

Nathan Lane played the lead role of gambler Nathan Detroit in the 1992 Broadway revival of the classic Frank Loesser/Jo Swerling/Abe Burrows musical “Guys and Dolls.”

Chyrel Miller, director of Springfield Little Theatre’s new production of the show, says that Lane called it “his favorite Broadway musical — and you can’t get any better recommendation than from Nathan Lane!”

Little Theatre's production continues through Sunday, June 16 at the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut St., closing Springfield Little Theatre's 2023-24 season. The Tony-winning favorite, based on short stories by journalist and author Damon Runyon, follows a rowdy bunch of gamblers, gangsters and sassy showgirls in a wild game of chance… then love sneaks in, and all bets are off.

The New York City Runyon wrote about in the 1930s and ‘40s is often called “mythical,” but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t actually exist on several levels, Miller says. Runyon died in 1946, and “Guys and Dolls” debuted in 1950.

“But,” Miller adds, “if you go into the 1930s and ‘40s, that was the Depression, that was gangsters, that was the off-site crap games. And in ‘Guys and Dolls’ we even invade a Salvation Army mission… and then we wind up in the sewers of New York City! And it was that time period that the ‘dolls’ were performing in the nightclubs.”

And falling in love with gangsters like Nathan Detroit, as Adelaide does, while waiting through a 14-year-long engagement to actually see a ring! Meanwhile, Nathan is trying hustle up the financial backing to put on the mother of all crap games. He turns for help to fellow gambler Sky Masterson, who ends up chasing, and falling for, the straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown.

Miller noted that Kim Crosby played Sarah in the 1992 Broadway revival of “Guys and Dolls.” Springfield Little Theatre’s last production of “Guys and Dolls” was in 1993, and Miller says there are two current cast members who were in the show in 1993. Dean Price played Nicely-Nicely 31 years ago, and in the auditions for this new production he joked that he’s “stayed around long enough and aged well enough that I can now play Arvide Abernathy!”

The other holdover from 1993 is Bill Stratton, who was in the ensemble in ’93, and now plays Brannigan the cop, complete with Irish accent. The four romantic leads are Chad Ferriell as Nathan; Brianna Hobbs as Adelaide; Kaleb Patterson in the role of Sky; and Gabby Catlin plays Sarah.

“We have an age range of 17 to 74 in our cast of forty-seven people,” Miller says.

An interesting variation on the usual staging of musicals at the Landers is that the orchestra is actually onstage, behind the actors, for “Guys and Dolls.”

“We have not really, in this season’s shows, highlighted the orchestra, and I asked if that could be a possibility. So we’ve brought in a jazz orchestra to up the ante a little bit. And I wanted them to be seen, because New York City is jazz,” Miller says. So there is a full 17-piece big band that is visible through the New York skyline that acts as a backdrop for the cast.

The production of “Guys and Dolls” runs through Sunday, June 16 at the Landers; tickets range from $22-$42. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, along with an extra 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. June 15. For tickets, call the Landers box office at 417-869-1334 or visit

“Guys and Dolls” closes Little Theatre’s 89th season, and the company’s 90th “Emerald” season opens in September with “The Wizard of Oz.”

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assisted volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He was the de facto "Voice of KSMU" due to the many hours per day he was heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.<br/><br/>Stewart passed away on July 1, 2024.