Another Roll of the Dice – World Premiere at North Coast Repertory Theatre

Journalist Damon Runyon romanticized the underworld characters on whom he reported, unspooling a series of stories that became wedded to the music of Frank Loesser. “Guys and Dolls” was the most successful production, and along the way the pair’s work buttressed the careers of Frank Capra, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Temple, Bob Hope and many others.
In its world premiere, “Another Roll of the Dice” is the remarkable result of the Runyon estate teaching out to Mark Saltzman, who was invited to plumb the writer’s files.
Saltzman then connected with the Loesser estate to bring in songs. The result is a fine evening at the North Coast Repertory Theatre, whose patrons are enjoying this world premiere production.

Allison Spratt Pearce and Elliot Lazar – photo by Aaron Rumley

But the challenge Saltzman overcame was to weave stand-alone songs never intended to be part of a musical into a wholly independent storyline. His clever device was to frame the story with several internal stories.
Saltzman’s plot involves the expected gaggle of gangsters, gamblers, gunmen, dames, singers and cops: Joey Uptown, Baseball Hattie, Tobias the Terrible, nightclub torch singer Georgia St George and the well-named safecracker Touch Feely.

Cast: L-R Allison Spratt Pearce, Darrick Penny, Lance Carter, Sarah Errington, Elliot Lazar, Jason Maddy – photo by Aaron Rumley

The cast of six plays far more than a half dozen characters: Lance Carter, Sarah Errington, Eliot Lazar, Jason Maddy, Allison Spratt Pearce, and Darrick Penny. Set in pre-war New York City of the 1930s at Mindy’s Deli, the two acts are filled with Loesser’s songs and a few ringers from Burton Lane, Hoagy Carmichael (most notably “Heart and Soul”) and Jimmy McHugh. Larry Sousa ably directs the production, which has already been extended.

Tickets available here.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.