teacher resource guide:guys and dolls - Playhouse Square

teacher resource guide:guys and dolls - Playhouse Square

playhousesquare.org/eduresources TEACHER RESOURCE GUIDE: GUYS AND DOLLS Pre-Program The lessons and activities in this guide are driven by the Commo...

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The lessons and activities in this guide are driven by the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (2010) which help ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school. The College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and Language define general, cross-disciplinary literacy expectations that must be met for students to be prepared to enter college and workforce training programs ready to succeed. 21st century skills of creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are embedded in the process of bringing the page to the stage. Seeing live theater encourages students to read, develop critical and creative thinking and to be curious about the world around them. This Teacher Resource Guide includes background information, questions and activities that can stand alone or work as building blocks toward the creation of a complete unit of classroom work.

The following is a partial list of Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy, History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics that align with the performance, lessons, and activities found in the Teacher Resource Guide: College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Writing Text Types and Purposes Production and Distribution of Writing Research to Build and Present Knowledge College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening Comprehension and Collaboration Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Synopsis Story Behind the Story About the Authors Character Descriptions Movie vs. Musical The Salvation Army Havana, Cuba in the 1940s and 1950s Did you Know? SCIENCE: Psychosomatic Symptoms Coming to the Theater

Pre-Show Activities Imagine and Write Action Challenge Research and Discuss Cuba

Resources Post-Show Activities Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Math: Probability for Throwing

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Language Conventions of Standard English Knowledge of Language Vocabulary Acquisition and Use College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details Craft and Structure Integration and Knowledge of Ideas Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Conditional Probability and the Rules of Probability Understand independence and conditional probability and use them to interpret data Use the rules of probability to compute probabilities of compound events in a uniform probability model

Community engagement and education programs at PlayhouseSquare are made possible by the generous support of foundations, corporations and donors.


SYNOPSIS Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City, this oddball romantic comedy – considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy – soars with the spirit of Broadway as it introduces us to a cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the canon: Sarah Brown, the upright but uptight “mission doll,” out to reform the evildoers of Times Square; Sky Masterson, the slick, high-rolling gambler who woos her on a bet and ends up falling in love; Adelaide, the chronically ill nightclub performer whose condition is brought on by the fact she’s been engaged to the same man for 14 years; and Nathan Detroit, her devoted fiancée, desperate as always to find a spot for his infamous floating crap game. mtishows.com

STORY BEHIND THE STORY Producers Cy Feuer and Ernie Martin came up with the idea to create a musical based on the short story “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown.” This story was written by sports columnist and short story author Damon Runyon.

Cy Feuer

Frank Loesser wrote the music and lyrics and Michael Kidd was the choreographer. Finding a book writer, however, proved to be more difficult, and the pair of producers went through 11 writers before hiring Hollywood screenwriter Jo Swerling. Swerling’s attempt failed to match Feuer and Martin’s vision, so they turned to radio and TV comedy writer, Abe Burrows. Though Burrows’ script is the one used today, Swerling’s contract specified that he receive coauthor credit. Guys and Dolls was directed by the renowned George S. Kaufman. The show opened at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City on November 24, 1950 and ran for 1,200 performances. The show instantly was considered a classic masterpiece and subtitled “A Musical Fable of Broadway.” Guys and Dolls has seen numerous revivals on Broadway including shows in 1965, 1977, 1992 and 2009 and the show has won 10 Tony Awards throughout its history.

George S. Kaufman


ABOUT THE WRITERS Abe Burrows (Book) was born December 10, 1910 in New York City. He was a multitalented man who had an enviable career. He was a songwriter, director and performer. After attending New York University, he worked as a script writer for radio and as a singer. His career in radio and television writing began with This Is New York (1938), followed by the Rudy Vallee Program (1940), Duffy’s Tavern (1940-45) and the Abe Burrows’ Show (1946-47). His biggest successes include writing the book for Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He won four Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Burrows is the father of two sons in the business: James and Jonathan. James Burrows was the director of the hit TV sitcoms Cheers and Will and Grace. Fame runs in the family; Abe Burrows is a distant cousin to the director and film star Woody Allen. Burrows died May 17, 1985.

Abe Burrows

Jo Swerling (Book) was born April 8, 1897 in Russia, but grew up in New York City, selling newspapers to help support his family. While working as a journalist in the 1920s, he found himself writing for magazines and newspapers and later became a playwright. His first success was a 1929 production he co-wrote called The Kibitzer. He then went to Hollywood and continued his success with Ladies of Leisure, the first of several films that teamed him with director Frank Capra. Their best known collaboration was the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life in 1946. Swerling’s best-known contribution to Broadway was Guys and Dolls. He was a playwright, screenwriter and vaudeville sketch writer. Swerling died in Los Angeles in October, 1964.

Frank Loesser (Music) was born in New York City on June 19, 1910. His father was a classical piano teacher and his brother was a concert pianist. The family’s classical approach to music did not interest Loesser; he took his own path and went into “pop” music. After dropping out of New York City College during the Depression to support himself, Frank found work doing odd jobs in the newspaper business. These experiences led him to begin his writing career. After a brief performing stint in New York clubs during the 1930s, he landed a contract with Hollywood studios. During this period he co-wrote his first hit song, “Moon over Manakoora,” one of the 60 songs he would write for films. The score for Where’s Charley became Loesser’s first hit musical in 1948. He followed up two years later with Guys and Dolls, which ended up winning the 1950 Tony Award for Best Musical. Loesser’s most successful show was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize and seven Tony Awards in 1961. In the 1990s, his two biggest shows were revived and became enormous successes all over again, starring Matthew Broderick in How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Loesser’s classic song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” won an Oscar in 1949. It continues to be re-recorded by artists today bringing Loesser’s work to a new generation. Loesser’s lasting effect on the theater industry continues to resonate today with current plans to revive his work Hans Christian Andersen, which premiered in 2000 at the American Conservatory Theater, for the Broadway stage. This great talent died July 28, 1969 after battling lung cancer.

Jo Swerling

Frank Loesser

Teacher Resource Guide


CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS Sarah Brown: the prim and proper leader of the Save-A-Soul Mission on Broadway. She is the “Mission Doll” who falls in love with Sky despite her preconceived idea of him. Sky Masterson: A handsome, wealthy gambler who will bet on almost anything. He falls in love and is reformed by Sarah Brown. Miss Adelaide: A simple-minded dancer at the Hot Box Club. She has a psychosomatic cold because she’s been engaged to Nathan Detroit for 14 years and desperately wants to get married. Nathan Detroit: Nathan has been engaged to Adelaide for 14 years. Commitment is not his middle name, unless you are talking about his commitment to provide a place for the local crap game at all costs! Nicely Nicely Johnson: A gambler and employee of Nathan Detroit. Repents in song at Save-A-Soul Mission. Benny Southstreet: A gambler and employee of Nathan Detroit. Rusty Charlie: A gambler and employee of Nathan Detroit. General Matilda B. Cartwright: The General in charge of the Save-A-Soul Mission who threatens to close the mission if the revival meeting does not attract some sinners. Arvide Abernathy: Sarah’s grandfather and a member of the Save-A-Soul Mission Band. Big Jule: A Chicago kingpin in NYC to participate in Nathan’s floating crap game. Lt. Brannigan: Nathan’s nemesis, out to prevent the crap game.

Teacher Resource Guide


MOVIE vs. MUSICAL The Guys and Dolls musical was made into a movie in 1955 starring Marlon Brando as Sky, Frank Sinatra as Nathan, Jean Simmons as Sister Sarah and Vivian Blaine as Adelaide, who originated the role on stage.

signs that the Obama administration may lift the embargo; combined with efforts by Cuba to encourage tourism, Havana may once again become a travel destination for Americans.

The film received mostly positive reviews, although there was some controversy over casting Marlon Brando, since he did not sing and because Gene Kelly was also considered for the role. Producer Samuel Goldwyn, however, chose Brandon because he was the biggest box office draw for the fans. In the long run, the casting choices did not negatively impact the film as it grossed more than $13 million in the U.S., was nominated for several Academy Awards and won Golden Globes for Best Musical Picture and Best Actress in 1951.


Three new songs, written by Frank Loesser, were added to the film: Pet Me Poppa, A Woman in Love and Adelaide, which was written specifically for Frank Sinatra. Five songs from the stage version were omitted from the movie: A Bushel and a Peck, My Time of Day, I’ve Never Been in Love Before, More I Cannot Wish You and Marry the Man Today. Several of the omitted songs, however, were used as background tracks during the film.


The Save-A-Soul Mission in Guys and Dolls is based on The Salvation Army, an evangelical Christian movement that is known both for its missionary work and charitable work. The group was founded in 1865 in London and is still a successful organization today. It runs a chain of thrift stores that help to support its work and is one of the largest charities in the United States, as well as in many other countries around the world. The Salvation Army was organized as a military-style hierarchy in 1878 when the founder’s son objected to being called a volunteer; the group is still organized as a kind of army today. Thus, in the musical, Sarah Brown’s rank is that of Sergeant, while the head of the mission is known as General Cartwright.


Today, not many Americans visit Cuba because of an embargo against the country that has been in effect since 1962, following Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution in 1959. In the 1940s and ‘50s, however, Cuba, and its capital, Havana, were major tourist destinations for Americans. Because gambling was legal there, it attracted many American gamblers, as well as other tourists who were interested in its cultural attractions and natural beauty. In 1958, more than 300,000 American tourists visited Havana, which made more money than Las Vegas. Today, there are

If you’ve ever used the terms “shoo-in,” “monkey business,” “shill,” “dukes” (for fists), “croak” (for die), “knock” (for criticize), or “kisser” (for mouth), you are using slang first created by Damon Runyon, whose short stories created the world dramatized in Guys and Dolls. In 1947, the designer Christian Dior released his first collection. The low-life characters in Guys and Dolls probably wouldn’t have bought the classy new outfits quite so soon, so the costume designer for this production chose to have the characters wear post-World War II outfits instead.  he Times Square area of New York has been the main T theater district of the city since the 19th Century. Since that time, the neighborhood has been the meeting place of a wide variety of New Yorkers, from theater-goers to conmen.  he set designer for this production lived in the Times T Square neighborhood of New York about 20 years after the production took place.

Teacher Resource Guide


SCIENCE: PSYCHOSOMATIC SYMPTOMS What is a psychosomatic disorder? Adelaide claims to suffer from “psychosomatic symptoms.” Psychosomatic means mind (psych) and body (soma). A psychosomatic disorder simply means “a physical disease that is thought to be caused, or made worse, by mental factors.” How does it work? Physical illnesses or conditions can be made worse by anxiety, stress, tension, anger or other strong negative feelings. When feeling afraid or anxious, the brain sends impulses to different parts of the body to release the chemical adrenaline, which can make the person have a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure, sweat, experience headaches and so on. Since each individual reacts differently to every feeling, some people suffer from worse or more frequent psychosomatic symptoms than others. For example, if two individuals are suffering from a similar rash, one might not be too bothered by it and simply get treatment for the rash, while the other may feel anxious or stressed about the rash to a high degree and end up feeling sickly and/or depressed. What about Adelaide? In Adelaide’s case, she started off with a common cold, but her anxiety made it much worse. Adelaide was afraid she was never going to get married. She also worried that her mother would find out that she wasn’t really married with five kids. Adelaide’s stress and anxiety kept her from getting completely well, so she frequently suffered “the sneezes or the wheezes or a post nasal drip.” These symptoms seemed to become worse after hearing bad news or having a fight with Nathan, which is consistent with psychosomatic disorder.

Lady Gaga as Miss Adelaide in her high school’s production (Source: Twitter @ladygaga)

Teacher Resource Guide

COMING TO THE THEATER! PlayhouseSquare is an exciting venue to see live theater! As the country’s largest performing arts center outside of New York, the not-for-profit performing arts center utilizes the arts to engage individuals and attract more than one million guests per year to 1,000+ annual events. PlayhouseSquare thus acts as a catalyst for economic growth and vitality within the region. As audience members, you and your students play a vital role in the success of the performances. You are part of a community that creates the theater experience. For many students, this may be their first time viewing a live theater production. We encourage teachers to discuss some of the differences between watching a television show, attending a sporting event or viewing a movie at the cinema. Here are a few examples to start the discussion: Students are led into the theater and seated by an usher.  heaters are built to magnify sound. Even the slightest T whisper can be heard throughout the theater. Remember that not only can those around you hear you, the performers can too.  ppropriate responses such as laughing or applauding A are appreciated. Pay attention to the artists on stage; they will let you know what is appropriate.  here is no food, drink or gum permitted in the theater. T Photography and videotaping of performances is not permitted.  hen the houselights dim, the performance is about to W begin. Please turn your attention toward the stage.  fter the performance, you will be dismissed by bus A number. Check around your seat to make sure you have all of your personal belongings.


Teacher Resource Guide


PRE-SHOW ACTIVITIES College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Writing Text Types and Purposes 2,3 Production and Distribution of Writing 4, 5 Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7, 9

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Writing Text Types and Purposes 2 Production and Distribution of Writing 4, 5 Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7, 9

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening Comprehension and Collaboration 1, 3 Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4, 6

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Language Conventions of Standard English 1,2 Knowledge of Language 3 Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 6

Imagine and Write Imagine the things in life that make you feel stressed or anxious. Is it homework, tests, chores, sports, afterschool activities? Write about what you do or could do to relieve your stress. Some examples might be to meditate, take a walk or listen to music. Action Challenge Compare your stress relievers to those of your classmates or friends. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try out a new or different method to relieve the stress. Write about how the new method worked for you. Research and Discuss Research how a person’s mind and body are connected. Discuss which is more powerful, mind over body or body over mind? What happens when an individual’s mind and body stop working together or get disconnected from each other?

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details 1 Integration and Knowledge of Ideas 7 CUBA Sky takes Sarah to Havana, Cuba in the musical. This would not be so easily done today because the U.S. does not have full diplomatic relations with Cuba, even thought the country is just 90 miles south of Florida. Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959 and instilled a repressive and highly controlling government. There has been tension between Cuba and the U.S. since Castro came to power, but it was made worse with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Research the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. Discuss what caused the Cuban Missile Crisis and why the U.S. continues to have strained relationships with Cuba. You can also research the impact Fidel Castro has had on Cuba. Cuba impacts the U.S. not just politically, but culturally as well. Research one part of Cuba’s culture. Some examples might be Cuba’s food, music, dance style, architecture or religion. Discuss how Cuban culture has impacted the U.S. What do we enjoy or benefit from, thanks to the Cuban influence?

Teacher Resource Guide


RESOURCES ONLINE RESOURCES Videos: Probability Explained (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRC92m5B7SM) Websites: The Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.org) Psychosomatic Symptoms http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201003/psychosomatic-symptoms

FUTHER READING & RESOURCES Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture by Daniel R. Schwarz (2003) Damon Runyon by Jimmy Breslin (1991) The Men Who Invented Broadway: Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell and Their World by John Mosedale (1980) The World of Damon Runyon by T. Clark (1978) Runonese by J. Wagner (1965) A Gentleman of Broadway by E.P. Hoyt (1964); Father’s Footsteps by D. Runyon (1953) Scarne On Dice by John Scarne; Wilshire Book Company; 8th edition (December 1992) Scarne’s New Complete Guide To Gambling by John Scarne; Fireside; Revised Updatd edition (August 7, 1986). Traub, James. The Devil’s Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square. Random House, 2004. Watson, Robert and James Benjamin Brown. The Most Effective Organization in the U.S.: Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army. Cahners Business Information, Inc.,2001. Winston, Diane. Red-Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of The Salvation Army. Harvard University Press; New Ed edition, 2000.

Teacher Resource Guide


POST-SHOW ACTIVITIES INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND IDEAS College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details 1, 2, 3 Craft and Structure 4 Integration and Knowledge of Ideas 7, 9 Read the short story The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown. Select music that you think would fit each scene in the story. What kinds of music are you considering? How do your choices of music compare or contrast with the music from Guys and Dolls? College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details 3 Craft and Structure 4, 5, 6 Integration and Knowledge of Ideas 9

Conditional Probability and the Rules of Probability Understand independence and conditional probability and use them to interpret data Use the rules of probability to compute probabilities of compound events in a uniform probability model Math: Probability for Throwing Have students make a chart of all possible results for throwing a pair of dice. Throwing dice allows for 6 possible values each. The die should land on any face with equal probability, so the percentages for each total, from 1 to 6, will be about 17% (1/6). Students will see that the actual totals vary from this prediction, as probability only gives a guide to what will happen, not an absolute solution. The chart should look something like this:

College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Writing Text Types and Purposes 3 Production and Distribution of Writing 4, 5 Research to Build and Present Knowledge 9 College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Language Conventions of Standard English 1, 2 Knowledge of Language 3 Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 5 Read one or more of Damon Runyon’s short stories. He has a very distinctive style. Write a story in the style of Damon Runyon. College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details 1, 2 Craft and Structure 4, 6 Integration and Knowledge of Ideas 7, 9 Look at the differences between the story line in The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown and Guys and Dolls. Why do you think the authors of the musical made the changes that they did? Which story do you like better, and why?

Next, student can explore the difference in probability the more throws a shooter makes. How do the results of a few throws compare to a much greater number of throws? Students should add the results themselves to see if their totals become closer to the predicted figures. Are some numbers more probable than others? Are there combinations that have better odds? Further Understanding Have students make a similar chart using three dice or work out a formula to calculate the probability for a particular throw (moderate difficulty) or a particular total (more difficult). Resource: Edkins, Jo. (2007)