This August, bells will be ringing and luck will definitely be a lady at the Little Compton Community Center (LCCC) as Newport County’s Swanhurst Chorus Theater brings Frank Loesser’s Tony-award winning Broadway classic Guys and Dolls to town for a two-week run at the start of the month. A special summer encore of the performance that had toes tapping and packed Newport’s Fenner Hall this past March, Swanhurst Director Jonathan Babbitt says, “it’s a real joy to bring the production to the Little Compton Community Theater. It’s a bandbox of a space.” Beautifully renovated and right on Little Compton’s picturesque center green, it’s easy to see why Babbitt chose the idyllic spot for the late-summer reprise.
Swanhurst’s 19th year doing musical theater, Guys and Dolls’ full show of songs famously given the on-screen Sinatra and Brando treatment have been pitch-perfected by Rhode Island’s oldest continuously performing community choral ensemble. The first time the chorus has brought a show to the other side of the Sakonnet River, the cast brought on local talent from both Tiverton and Little Compton to tie the production closer to the tight-knit creative community by the sea. Holding auditions this past spring for Hot Box Girls, Gamblers and members of the Mission Band, Babbitt was happy to be able to bring adult acting opportunities to town with the show. “Perhaps this will be the start of a more consistent adult theater program in Little Compton,” says Babbitt on the interest and excitement generated by the Swanhurst auditions and cast additions.
What can audiences expect from the expected sell-out show? The intimate Little Compton venue will take a trip straight back to the rough side of town in 1920’s New York City, where it’s hard to tell the saints from the sinners. An age of vice and dapper dressing (who didn’t see Gatsby yet?) the guys are gambling men, and the dolls are set on a soul-saving mission for the men they love. Complete with a hot summer night in Havana, an illegal floating craps game and wedding bells on the horizon, Guys and Dolls is one of Broadway’s longest running and most beloved musical com- edies with good reason. Swanhurst’s summer production runs at the Little Compton Community Theatre August 1 through 10. Tickets are $10. Call 401-635-2400 or email Little Compton Community Center for more information.