The cast of "Another Roll of the Dice" at North Coast Repertory Theatre. Photo by Aaron Rumley
The classic musical Guys and Dolls was based on two of Damon Runyon’s cartoonish short stories about mugs and molls in 1930s New York, “Blood Pressure” and “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown.” Now, decades later, three other Runyon stories have been turned into a new musical titled Another Roll of the Dice. Like Guys and Dolls, this world premiere at the North Coast Repertory Theatre features music and lyrics by the estimable Frank Loesser. The book’s by playwright Mark Saltzman, who’s crafted a show that treats its three stories separately but with a six-member ensemble playing different characters throughout.
Another Roll of the Dice is no Guys and Dolls, especially in the script department -- “Breach of Promise” is the tightest of the three rambling tales. And while there isn’t a song as iconic as Guys and Dolls’ “Luck Be A Lady” or “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” Dice has its musical nuggets. All numbers feature lyrics by Loesser, but included in the score are collaborations with Hoagy Carmichael (“Heart and Soul”), Frederick Hollander (“The Boys in the Backroom”) and Jimmy McHugh (“Let’s Get Lost,”), among others. Allison Spratt Pearce’s lovely vocals and Sarah Errington’s comic chops are cast standouts, and Elisa Benzoni’s bold, bright costumes are Runyon-worthy.
(Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 11/24/19.)
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat