Hunter Foster discusses Theatre Aspen’s ‘Guys and Dolls’ production
For the Aspen Times
IF YOU GO …
What: ‘Guys and Dolls,’ presented by Theatre Aspen
Where: Hurst Theatre in Rio Grande Park
When: Friday, June 21 through Saturday, Aug. 17
Tickets and more info: Hurst box office; theatreaspen.org
Director Hunter Foster calls “Guys and Dolls” “truly one of the great American musicals.”
“The book is so well constructed and has some of the greatest songs ever written,” said the Tony Award-nominated actor-turned-director, who is at the helm of Theatre Aspen’s summer production of “Guys and Dolls” opening this weekend.
Currently serving as the artistic director for the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, New York, Foster is an acclaimed musical theater actor, singer, librettist, playwright and director. He is returning to Theatre Aspen for his second season after having directed “Our Town” last summer.
“It’s been a joy to work on the show with a relatively younger cast — many of them apprentices,” he said. “Their enthusiasm, energy and commitment to the material has been infectious and life-affirming.”
From an early age, Foster knew he wanted to be in show business. With a dream of becoming a novelist, he started out writing short stories and plays. Eventually, through his academic studies, he began recruiting his friends to participate in the plays that he was writing.
“I’ve been the proudest of the things that I have written because that was my initial dream,” he said, noting that he’s written six stage productions and seen five produced. “Of everything that I do, writing is the hardest. It’s thrilling to see your work produced, knowing that it all came from your head and your heart.”
Foster also is immensely proud of his acting successes, most specifically “Urinetown,” where his 2001 role as Bobby Strong was a career breakthrough that earned Outer Critics Circle Award and a Lucille Lortel Award nominations.
“This was one of the most exciting times of my life,” Foster said. His love for show business most certainly rubbed off on his little sister, Sutton Foster, the lead on the television shows “Bunheads” and “Younger” and two-time Tony winner. (Hunter’s Tony nomination came for his role in the 2003 Broadway revival of “Little Shop of Horrors,” which Theatre Aspen also is producting later this summer.)
Most recently, Foster directed “The Other Josh Cohen” Off-Broadway and “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the Goodspeed Opera House.
“As with any show that I direct, I try to create a new experience for the audience, he said. “I want this to be a ‘Guys and Dolls’ unlike any other ‘Guys and Dolls’ that people have seen before. I also love that the theater allows us to be immersive, where we can use the aisles and the entire theater as our playing space.”
A long-standing favorite since the musical romantic comedy first opened on Broadway in 1950, “Guys and Dolls,” set in Depression-era Times Square, follows a couple of big-city gamblers and their unlikely lovers and classics like “Adelaid’s Lament,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “If I Were a Bell” and “Luck Be a Lady.”
High-roller Sky Masterson (Tony Roach) falls in love with mission worker Sarah Brown (Sarah Marie Charles) while friend Nathan Detroit (Blakely Slaybaugh) is feeling the pressures of being engaged to Miss Adelaid (Julie Kavanagh) for the past 14 years.
Foster is excited to be back for another summer in Aspen: “I love it here. I love my hikes in the morning with the snow-capped mountains in the distance. I love the laid-back vibe of Aspen with the bearded snowboarders walking the streets as locals enjoy the outdoor dining scene. I had sort of a spiritual reset last year when I was here and I look forward to feeling refreshed and renewed when I head back to NYC.”
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