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by Ira Liebowitz

After numerous postponements resulting in the evolution of an anxiously impatient camp, Frank Loesser's world of gamblers and girls came to the Ranger Playhouse as the counseloring staff offered its first production here in many years, "Guys and Dolls."

Many things can be said as far as the production is concerned. Casting was held early in the summer, and by all appearances the dramatics team was quite prepared to "get the show on the road." Complications, however, quickly managed to find Barry Kaplan. First, the counselors were unable to act together for rehearsals for various reasons, in addition to which they encountered difficulty in learning lines and blocking. Secondly, some members of the cast decided that they had no desire to appear in the show after all. Replacements were not easily found, time was running out and Barry was faced with recasting. Retaining his composure, however, he casted Al Pinsky for the important role of Nathan Detroit to play opposite Sue Friedman (Adelaide Adams) and Cliff Ross to play the equally vital part of Sky Masterson opposite Judy Gitlin (Sarah Brown). Next, a male chorus was needed, but Barry managed to recruit a gallant crew to fill the opening. The problem here, though, was teaching them songs, moves and dialogue. This, in short, is all the Producer-Director Kaplan and the Ranger drama group had to combat.

What now remains to be asked is, "What finally happened?" Let us summarize piece by piece. Al Pinsky was a humorous, entertaining Nathan. Sue Friedman was a typical Adelaide, keeping her audience thoroughly enthralled. Cliff Ross played the free-wheeling Sky with delicate precision. Judy Gitlin was a lovely Sarah Brown. The choreography was nearly professional in nature. Virtually inexperienced counselors were put to work and danced beautifully. Singing was fitting. And the chorus? The smoothest!

The story of "Guys and Dolls" is not a pearl by any means. It concerns New York gamblers and their attempted secrecy when throwing the dotted cubes. There is a main theme, however, and what else would it be but love. Nathan and Adelaide have been engaged for fourteen years, but gambling has prevented Nathan from ever reaching the altar. Sky has never fallen in love, but moralist Sarah catches his eye. This is ironically clever, but the manner in which the affair develops into marriage is shallow. Eventually, Nathan becomes a groom, leaving all guessing as to whether or not he shall ever give up gambling. Based on the story, the changes are against "Guys and Dolls."

Of all the summer's productions, this one provided the greatest difficulties. Yet a stout dramatics crew concretely supported by Barry Kaplan, Steve Nevitt, Howie Greenberg and Diane Satz, "stuck it out" and came through in fine style with a winner.