Broadway Features and Reviews
Guys and Dolls: Rolling The Dice
By Eric Grundhauser, Broadway Magazine
All bets are off this March when Guys and Dolls returns to Broadway. Famous players Oliver Platt and Lauren Graham head-up the cast as a rakish gambler and the nightclub singer he falls for. Platt plays Nathan Detroit, a con-man whose scheme involves a "floating craps game" that lets him fleece unsuspecting players, and while Nathan Detroit's devious game of craps brings the excitement and luck of the dice to the stage, the game itself has roots in a time long before the setting of the play.
While the complicated origins of the game now known as Craps may date back to the time of the Crusades, its modern iteration was most likely brought to New Orleans by a French gambler. The game is based on bets made on the outcome of dice rolls against either other players or a bank or dealer. While the concept of betting on a random element is not unique to craps (see also roulette, slot machines), it is the complicated and layered rules of betting that make craps a great choice for scammers like Nathan Detroit.
With dozens of types of bets available to players and fast and furious outcomes after rolls its easy to lose track of the action if you aren't a seasoned pro. Nathan Detroit's scam, his "floating craps game," is a theatrical version of a commonly practiced type of game cheat where dealers would operate off of movable tables and set-ups that could switch location as soon as the authorities or suspicious players could enact any justice. The term itself was once so prevalent that The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas even kept a literal floating table in the swimming pool during the 50's and 60's. About the same time Guys and Dolls was first staged.
Even today Craps continues to be one of the most popular casino games among beginners and veterans alike, much like Nathan Detroit's story, which still commands audiences fifty years after its creation. Now that you know the stakes, don't get taken. Place your bets on fun and romance and get your tickets for Guys and Dolls now, opening March 1st at the Nederlander Theater!
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