Guys and Dolls – Characters

Here is a breakdown of the characters in Guys and Dolls so you can start picking an audition song that matches the character you are interested in.

Nathan Detroit (male Tenor/Baritone; solo singer): Nathan Detroit is the heart and soul of Guys And Dolls JR. Your Nathan needn’t be a great singer, but should be a very good actor with excellent comic timing and able to handle a sizable role. His presence must draw the focus in any scene. Cast an actor who can take positive risks with his acting and singing. Nathan’s big secret is that he wants to marry Adelaide; he just can’t bring himself to admit it.

Miss Adelaide (female Alto/Belter; solo singer): Miss Adelaide is the classic “intellectually-challenged floozy.” This actress doesn’t need to be a strong singer, but she must have a good sense of pitch. Adelaide needs to be funny and able to do a convincingly thick New York City dialect. Cast an actress that can create a character full of personality.

Sky Masterson (male Baritone; strong solo singer): Sky Masterson is the quintessential, “smooth-as-velvet” Broadway gambler; he’s slick and charming. In today’s terms he would be called “a player.” Sky should have a strong voice capable of owning the stage when delivering “Luck Be a Lady.” He has a soft spot for Sarah Brown. Cast a confident actor who can sing, dance and drive his scenes.

Sarah Brown (female Soprano; strong solo singer): Sarah Brown is the “girl next door” with an adventurous side that’s waiting to escape. She is gently authoritative, the mirror opposite of Sky. Sky is her weakness. Sarah is about substance as much as Sky is about style. She should be an excellent actress as well as singer, and must be able to show two distinct sides of herself. Select an actress who is a triple threat, who pairs off well and can hold her own with your Sky Masterson. 

Arvide Abernathy (any gender; small solo): Arvide Abernathy is Sarah Brown’s grandfather and the bass drum player in the Mission Band. This part can easily be cast as a girl, changing the character to Sarah’s grandmother. This non-singing role is perfect for an actor who can portray a parental type.

Nicely-Nicely Johnson (male Tenor; strong solo singer): Nicely – Nicely Johnson is walking, talking, Broadway comedy. Select a performer who has fantastic comic timing and is naturally funny. Cast an excellent musician and someone who isn’t afraid to take positive risks. He should have the chops to really deliver the showstopper, “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”

Benny Southstreet (male Tenor; strong solo singer): Benny Southstreet and Rusty Charlie are the small-time gambler sidekicks of Nicely- Nicely Johnson. These are perfect roles for good actors who are naturally funny. They should be confident singers (they open the show with “The Fugue for Tin Horns”) and have a handle on comic timing. Don’t be afraid to cast a girl who has the skills for one of these roles. It is comical to cast contrasting-sized kids for these parts! Benny has speaking lines throughout.

Rusty Charlie (male Tenor; strong solo singer): Benny Southstreet and Rusty Charlie are the small-time gambler sidekicks of Nicely- Nicely Johnson. These are perfect roles for good actors who are naturally funny. They should be confident singers (they open the show with “The Fugue for Tin Horns”) and have a handle on comic timing. Don’t be afraid to cast a girl who has the skills for one of these roles. It is comical to cast contrasting-sized kids for these parts! Rusty Charlie’s role is just singing.

Harry the Horse (male): Harry the Horse and Big Jule are colorful additions to the crapshooters crew. They should be strong and humorous characters. They are in all the ensemble numbers but don’t need to be strong singers. Their lines are sidesplitting so cast characters that can deliver them.

Big Jule (male): Harry the Horse and Big Jule are colorful additions to the crapshooters crew. They should be strong and humorous characters. They are in all the ensemble numbers but don’t need to be strong singers. Their lines are sidesplitting so cast characters that can deliver them. Big Jule is one hulking thug and could be the tallest OR the shortest kid in your cast!

Lieutenant Brannigan (any gender): Lt. Brannigan is the police officer that always plays the patsy and is outwitted by the Gamblers. This non-singing role is perfect for a kid who’s new to your program to see how he handles himself in a role.

General Cartwright (female): General Cartwright is the formidable leader of the Save-a-Soul Mission organization. This is a great place to feature someone who doesn’t have a strong singing voice, but can appear imposing!

Master of Ceremonies (any gender): The Master of Ceremonies is the host at the Hot Box Club. He has one memorable line, so this is a great role for someone new to the stage.

The Gamblers and their Dolls (any gender): The Gamblers and their Dolls are the well-dressed “comic glue” of the show. They are the rest of your male  (except for the Mission Band). A variety of gamblers, pedestrians, workers, NYC folks of all types will work perfectly for this group.These are great parts for beginning actors and can certainly include girls playing boys parts! Angie The Ox is a gambler with one solo speaking line. Gamblers also include Liver Lips Louie, Society Max, and the Lookout.

Hot Box Girls (female; strong featured dancers and singers): The Hot Box Girls work in the club and are in the act “A Bushel and a Peck” where Miss Adelaide is the headliner. Cast your stronger singers and dancers here. Time to bring out the “cornball!” MIMI is a Hot Box Girl who has one line.

The Mission Band (any gender; small singing solos): The Mission Band is the tireless group that can be comprised of as many performers as you wish. They are more about persistence than precision. Cast ensemble kids who are not strong dancers but are comfortable with singing and taking stage direction. The Mission Band includes Agatha, Calvin, Martha, and Bertha. (NOTE: I want to cast kids who play ACTUAL band instruments)

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