Guys and Dolls JR.
Based on the legendary, multi-award-winning, musical comedy classic about rolling the dice and falling in love under the lights of Broadway.
Show Essentials
+ Ensemble

Full Synopsis

Guys and Dolls JR. opens with a bustling street scene alive with Times Square characters. Some gamblers enter and trade tips about different horses that they are considering placing bets on from the daily scratch sheet ("Fugue for Tinhorns"). As the gamblers finish their pitch, Miss Sarah Brown and the Mission Band enter, playing a hymn ("Follow the Fold"). She warns the gamblers of the evils of their ways, but her sermon falls on deaf ears, so she and the band exit dejectedly. Lt. Brannigan, of the New York Police Department, enters and warns the gamblers not to try to organize their crap game. Nathan Detroit enters and, after Brannigan exits, complains that there is nowhere for the crap game to take place unless he can come up with $1000 to rent the Biltmore Garage. Nathan, Benny, Nicely and the gamblers sing of their frustration in  "The Oldest Established." Sky Masterson is rumored to be in town, and Nathan tries to think up a bet to place with Sky that he cannot lose, to come up with the money for the game. Meanwhile, Adelaide enters with the Hot Box Girls and gives Nathan his anniversary present, marking their fourteenth year of engagement!) She also warns him not to try to organize his crap game, and then exits as Sky Masterson enters. Nathan has instructed his boys to get the lowdown on how much cheesecake and how much strudel is sold at a popular restaurant. With the advance information, Nathan attempts to sucker Sky into a bet for $1000, but Sky relates a story his father told him, and refuses. So, Nathan counters with another bet: that Sky can't take a specified woman on a trip to Havana. A confident Sky takes the bait, and Nathan names the missionary, Miss Sarah Brown, as the woman. Only then does Sky realize the difficulty he is facing, and Scene 1 ends.

Sky goes to the Save-a-Soul Mission to get a date with Miss Sarah Brown. He and Sarah discuss the lack of sinners in the mission, and Sky proposes a trade: he will personally guarantee twelve sinners for the struggling mission if Sarah will accompany him to Havana for dinner. She refuses, saying that the man she will love will not be a gambler, so Sky asks her to describe the man of her dreams. She replies that she'll know when the right man comes along ("I'll Know"). Their song ends in a kiss that quickly turns into a slap in the face for Sky.

At the Hot Box, Adelaide and the Hot Box Girls perform a number ("A Bushel and a Peck"). After the show, Adelaide announces to Nathan that it is time they finally got married, warning him again not to start up his crap game again.  Nathan exits hurriedly to do just that, and she sings of her frustration ("Adelaide's Lament").

Benny and Nicely have been watching Sky follow Sarah and the Mission band, hoping he will lose his bet with Nathan, and the $1000 windfall will allow them to hold the crap game. They observe that men all over the world have a weakness for falling in love ("Guys and Dolls").

Sarah and the band return to the mission. Arvide Abernathy, the bass drum player and Sarah's grandfather, encourages her to pay some attention to Sky. General Cartwright, the head of the Save-a-Soul Mission, arrives and explains that the Broadway mission's poor performance in attracting sinners is forcing her to close the branch. Sky appears and protests the close of the mission, reminding Sarah of his IOU for one dozen sinners. Desperate, she accepts and then guarantees the General that there will be one dozen genuine sinners in the mission the following evening.

All the crap shooters, including Big Jule (a very tough, gun-toting gangster from Chicago) are wearing red carnations as their badge of entry for the game, which still has no location. Lt. Brannigan appears, notices all the red carnations and asks Nathan what's going on. Benny sees Adelaide with some of the other Hot Box dancers and covers for Nathan, telling Brannigan that the carnations are for guests of Nathan's bachelor party. Adelaide hears this and excitedly tells Nathan that they will elope the following evening after the show. As Adelaide exits, Nathan tells Benny that he still has not received any money from Sky, so they worry that Miss Sarah actually went to Havana.

In fact, Sarah and Sky are in Havana at that very moment. After a "dulce de leche" drink, Sarah tells Sky how she feels ("If I Were a Bell"). Realizing that he is falling in love with her, a guilty Sky tells Sarah about the bet that he made with Nathan. She reluctantly allows him to take her back to New York.

Outside the Mission at 4:00 a.m., Sarah and Sky run into Adelaide, who is returning from a bridal shower. Sky reveals to Sarah that his real name is Obediah. Sky and Sarah sing to each other of their new found love ("I've Never Been in Love Before"). At the end of the song they are met by Arvide, who is returning from a night of mission work. Police bells sound, and several gamblers suddenly flee the mission and the grasp of Lt. Brannigan. Nathan has held the crap game in the Mission. Sarah is convinced Sky's trip to Havana was part of Nathan's plan all along, so she angrily breaks it off with Sky.

Adelaide and the girls perform another number at the Hot Box ("Take Back Your Mink"). Sky enters and bumps into Nicely, who is looking for Adelaide. He has been sent to tell her that Nathan cannot meet her after the show as planned. Nicely tells Sky that Nathan is still at the game because Big Jule won't allow the game to end until he wins back all the money he lost. Adelaide enters, realizes that Nathan is still running the crap game and tells Sky to tell Nathan that she never wants to see him again. ("Adelaide's Second Lament").

Sarah, angry that she is in love with Sky and convinced that he helped set up the mission crap game, tells Arvide that she wants to leave. Arvide sings to her, "More I Cannot Wish You". Sky and Nicely pass by on their way to the crap game, and Sky tells Sarah and Arvide that he intends to honor his IOU. He and Nicely open a manhole cover and descend to the sewers, where the crap game is being held.

The game is proceeding furiously ("The Crapshooters' Dance"). At the end of the dance, Big Jule and his gun remind the fatigued group that they will all stay and play until he wins his lost money back. Sky enters as Big Jule begins fixing the game against Nathan. He proposes to bet $1000 against each player on one roll and, if he wins, each player must go to the mission. As he prepares to roll, he prays to Lady Luck for help ("Luck Be a Lady").

Nathan runs into Adelaide, who makes him squirm to patch things up, until Nicely and Benny arrive to remind him of his obligation to go to the prayer meeting at the Mission. Adelaide, of course, is convinced that Nathan is just lying again. But, at a few minutes past midnight, all the gamblers enter the mission to the surprise of Sarah and the delight of General Abernathy. The gamblers are compelled to testify to their sins, and several do, leading up to Nicely's musical testimony ("Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat"). After the song, Nathan tells Sarah and the others about his bet, confessing that Sky claimed to have lost, but Sarah is confused because she knows that Sky actually won the bet. She exits as the General leads the gamblers in a hymn ("Follow the Fold").

Sarah and Adelaide meet on the street early in the morning and commiserate about Sky and Nathan ("Marry the Man Today").

Adelaide appears in a wedding gown and calls for Nathan. Nathan tells her that he hasn't found a place for them to get married. The Mission Band enters, led by Sky and Sarah. Nathan asks Sky if he can get married in the Mission. Arvide, who has already married Sky and Sarah in the mission earlier, happily offers to do the same for Adelaide and Nathan. All is well on Broadway as the curtain falls.

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Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Nathan Detroit
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
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
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
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
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

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."

Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Bb3
Benny Southstreet

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.

Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: Bb3
Rusty Charlie

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.

Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: Bb3
Harry The Horse

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

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!

Lt. Brannigan
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
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!
The Gamblers/Guys are the well-dressed "comic glue" of the show. They are the rest of your male ensemble (except for the Mission Band). A variety of gamblers, pedestrians, workers, NYC folks of all types will work perfectly for this group. If you have a large cast of Guys, feel free to make a group of them just Gamblers (Crapshooters). If you do this, consider casting your better movers as the Gamblers. 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
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.
Master Of Ceremonies
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 Dolls are other ensemble females that are not Hot Box girls or Mission Band members. These are non-speaking roles and are perfect for performers of any ability. Like the Guys, they can represent a variety of colorful NYC characters.
Mission Band
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.
Don't forget that you will need to cast Cops and a Street Vendor from your ensemble. Should you have more ensemble than your staging area can handle, add Audience Guys and Dolls. Consider seating them in your stage pit on risers; they can be visually and vocally a huge asset to your production. One option is to invite an entire class to play Audience Gamblers (for example, Mrs. Wilson's 4th grade class).
Full Song List
Guys And Dolls JR.: Overture
Guys And Dolls JR.: Fugue For Tinhorns
Guys And Dolls JR.: Follow the Fold
Guys And Dolls JR.: The Oldest Established
Guys And Dolls JR.: Follow the Fold (Reprise)
Guys And Dolls JR.: I'll Know
Guys And Dolls JR.: A Bushel and a Peck
Guys And Dolls JR.: Adelaide's Lament
Guys And Dolls JR.: Guys and Dolls
Guys And Dolls JR.: If I Were a Bell
Guys And Dolls JR.: I've Never Been In Love Before
Guys And Dolls JR.: Adelaide's Second Lament
Guys And Dolls JR.: Luck Be a Lady
Guys And Dolls JR.: Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat
Guys And Dolls JR.: Marry the Man Today
Guys And Dolls JR.: The Happy Ending


Playbill Vault (Original)

Playbill Vault (1955 Revival)

Playbill Vault (1965 Revival)

Playbill Vault (1976 Revival)

Playbill Vault (1992 Revival)

Playbill Vault (2009 Revival)

U.S. National Tour Website

IMDB page for film adaptation

Curriculum Connection

  • Statistics
  • Research Techniques
  • Probability
  • Campaigning
  • New York City Geography and History
  • Cuban Culture
  • Health
  • Gambling


Based on :The Idyll of Sarah Brown" and characters by Damon Runyon.


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Author Billing – Guys and Dolls JR.

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The [Licensee]
Production of
Based on a Story and Characters by
Damon Runyon
Music and Lyrics by
Book by

Video Warning

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