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Guys and Dolls

Premiere 24 October.

Musical. The Göteborg Opera’s major musical for the season is “Guys and Dolls”, an absolute classic in its genre.

A musical about gambling and love on Broadway

”Right on target.” DN
“Genuine performers from the musical genre in all the roles.” DN
Dance numbers that takes your breath away.” SvD
“First-rate singing and music.” GT
“Brilliant spirit of performance.” SvD
“A fifties-feeling through and through." GP
“The whole ensemble maintains an extremely high level of performance.” GT
“Ingenious choreography, striking costumes and exquisite lighting design.” SvD

In this production we find the team behind the great success of 2006, Cats, reinforced with the well-reputed conductor Nick Davies from London’s West End. In this production he will conduct a large musical orchestra with everything from delicate violins to jazzy saxophones. The director, Hans Berndtsson will recreate the spirit of the times of the original and allow for this, one of the world’s greatest musicals, to blossom out in full bloom.

Watch a clip from the performance.

The story is based on a novel by the American journalist Damon Runyon and revolves around players Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit, young Salvation Army soldier Sarah Brown and nightclub singer, Adelaide. The author was a personal friend of Al Capone and had a preference for portraying gangsters, female actresses and professional gamblers from the underworld around Times Square, New York City.

“Guys and Dolls is a magnificent musical that suits our stage perfectly. It will be pure entertainment with big band feel to the music, big-time dance scenes, street-smart dialogues and, what’s more, romance.” Lise-Lotte Axelsson, Opera director.

The work had its world premiere on Broadway in 1950, where it was performed 1200 times and won five Tony Awards, of which one was for the best musical. The film version came in 1955 with Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine playing the main parts. Guys and Dolls had its first Swedish performance at Oscarsteatern in Stockholm in 1953, under the name of Änglar på Broadway (Angels on Broadway). It returned to Oscarsteatern in 1997 and has been performed at several Swedish theatres through the years, also with the title Pysar och slander (Lads and Fads).

Watch pictures from the performance.

Leading actors.

Sarah Brown Evelyn Jons.

Jons Evelyn

Evelyn Jons is from Gothenburg, trained at the Balettakademi as well as Teater- och Operahögskolan in Gothenburg.

Since graduating in 2001 she has played parts in the majority of musicals in the Nordic countries. She has, for example, played the part of Fantine in Les Misérables at Tröndelag Teater in Norway and Sugar Kane in the musical Sugar at Norrbottensteatern. She has also portrayed Nancy in Oliver at Östgötateatern, Anita in West Side Story both at Värmlandsoperan and Vasa Teater in Finland as well as Mrs Lyons in Blodsbröder (Blood Brothers) at Värmlandsoperan. Evelyn Jons has also interpreted Theodorakis in the performance Bouzouki at Det Norske teatret in Oslo and been a soloist with Göteborgssymfoniker as well as Kringkastingorkestret in Oslo.

At GöteborgsOperan we have previously made Evelyn’s acquaintance in the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line and as Grizabella in Cats (in 2006).

Sky Masterson Timo Nieminen.


Timo Nieminen has worked as a singer and actor since 1985 and has participated in over 80 productions in theatre, opera, musicals, films, radio theatre as well as in his own theatre, show and stand-up performances. He has primarily worked in Gothenburg, at Stora Teatern, GöteborgsOperan, Stadsteatern and Folkteatern. Among his many roles is the title role in Sweeney Todd at Värmlandsoperan in 2007, Riff-Raff in GöteborgsOperans production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2006 as well at at Stadsteatern, Daddy is Cooking with Elvis, Hingsten Pekka (Horse) in Allt eller inget (All or Nothing), Berger in Hair and Tiger Brown in Tolvskillingsoperan. At Folkteatern he has played the Officer in Ett Drömspel (a Dream Play) and the Son in Min Modiga Mor (My Brave Mother). Timo is also current in the feature film Kid Svensk by Nann Huolman as well as in an electronic-adventure of Schubert’s Winterreise with Malin Dahlström from Dishdishdance.

At GöteborgsOperan Timo has also participated in My Fair Lady and most recently at the world premiere in the spring of 2009 of Vandekeybus’ dance performance Black Biist.

Timo Nieminen

Adelaide Anna-Maria Hallgarn.

Ann-Marie Hallgarn

Anna-Maria Hallgarn alternates between musical and theatre stages and soloist singing commissions. She received her training at Balettakademien’s programme for musical artists in Gothenburg and has thereafter participated in several musicals. In 2005 she played the leading role in Kharmen at Göteborgs Stadsteater. At Malmö Opera she has participated in Zorba. She has also worked on musicals including Cabaret, Jekyll & Hyde and Godspell.

At GöteborgsOperan Anna-Maria Hallgarn has played the part of Vera in the newly-written pop and rock musical Grymt! (Wicked) that had its premiere on our Skövde scene during the spring of 2008.

Nathan Detroit Erik Gullbransson.


Erik Gullbransson is a singer, an actor, an entertainer and a conferencier. Erik Gullbransson is a versatile artist and known, not least, as one of the country’s few male jazz singers. In the beginning of the 90s he started the Nat King Cole Session that has successfully been on tour, on and off, since then. He has also released two solo albums, Ögon känsliga för grönt (Eyes sensitive to green) and Hon & jag (She & I). He is often booked as a guest artist with big bands and orchestras all over Sweden and has also participated in a number of cabarets. As a musical artist he has also played roles such as Thenardiér in Les Misérables, Graf Arco in Mozart!, the narrator in Blood Brothers and Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd.

At GöteborgsOperan Erik Gullbransson has taken part in Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon and most recently he played Alfred P Doolittle in My Fair Lady. He has also participated in several Epiphany concerts.

Erik Gullbransson

See Guys and Dolls start on the quiet at Liseberg.

Sin and Salvation in New York’s Underworld.

Hans Berndtsson, director In the musical Guys and Dolls there is a colourful gallery of characters with gambling-crazy gangsters, light-footed good-time girls, pious Salvation Army soldiers and no-nonsense guardians of law and order. It will be a juicy piece for the successful team behind Cats, with director Hans Berndtsson in charge, to put their teeth into.

Update it to the present times? Modernise the language? Throw in some Gothenburg references? No, no, no, is Hans Berndtsson’s immediate answer.
"I intend neither to flirt with Liseberg nor with Göteborgs Hamn", he says with a good laugh.
"The setting is Times Square, New York, in the crossing between Broadway and 47th Street, exactly as in the original. And I promise, even those who have never been there will know their way about. Neither do I feel any need to dress up the ensemble in leather and rivets nor let the story take place in the 1960s as some versions I have seen", Hans Berndtsson continues. He is also content with Hans Alfredson’s old translation into Swedish.
"It is true that the vernacular from Södermalm in Stockholm is very close to the New York slang of the original text, but Alfredsson chose to create his own slang, which I have modernised somewhat."

Elisabeth Wikström

Excerpt from an article in GO Nyheter no. 4 © 2009.

Hans Berndtsson, regissör

Costume sketches by Jaana Fomin.


The Loveable Criminal.

He usually has a nick-name that describes something in his appearance (Mickey Mad Eyes), his background (Bobby the Jew) or a skill (Sam the Butcher). In the world of film he is a smart guy in a well-tailored suit. On the stage he is a cunning charmer or a slightly dense bodyguard. Somewhere on his body he has at least one weapon. He is a gangster.

Alphonse Al Capone
Alphonse Al Capone

Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit in the musical Guys and Dolls are not the worst kind. They are neither hit men nor mafia lackeys. They do not rob people, but they gladly play their money off them. Both of them support themselves by illegal gambling in the New York of the 1950s: Nathan in his capacity as the one who organises the gambling evenings. Sky as one of the big gamblers (he got the name Sky after his high stakes). In feature films like The Godfather, The Untouchables, Scarface, Casino, Mafia Brothers, Donnie Brasco and Carlito’s Way the gangster is of another, rougher kind. He is part of organised crime where one earns money from the protection racket, money laundry, narcotics and smuggling of weapons. To shoot to defend oneself or the crime enterprise is part of the job. In one of our most popular TV-series with a gangster theme, The Sopranos, the Italian descendant New Jersey clan are engaged in garbage collection and disposal. Not so glamorous, but lucrative if one manages it with Soprano methods. Tony Soprano does not consistently dress in tailor-made suits like his cinematic ancestors, but is vain in his own way and gladly wears a heavy gold chain around his neck with his expensive track suit.

The Sopranos James Gandolfini - Tony Soprano

No matter what he actually does there is something about the gangster that makes us love to love him. He is not like other criminals and brutes. Even the word gangster exudes nostalgia and suspense, rather than murder and brutality. According to the dictionary, however, he is a “...unscrupulous professional criminal, who usually operates in an organised group”.

A gangster might well be a professional criminal, but he is one with finesse. He dresses exclusively and surrounds himself with beautiful things and beautiful women. Loyalty and honour are his prestige words and the family, his own family and the crime syndicate, go before anything else. High up in the hierarchy he is also a well-oiled businessman with major financial power.

For some this is enough to hold the gangster in unconstrained admiration, or at least the romantic image of him. A criminal with a code of honour is, after all, quite cool. For scriptwriters he provides ample material and new versions of the gangster pop up frequently in literature, on stage, on the cinema screen and on our TVs.

The journalist and author Damon Runyon, on whose novels the musical Guys and Dolls is based, was himself acquainted with the gangster king Al Capone and depicted the underworld in the US of the 1920s and 30s in a pithy and entertaining way. The gangster in his stories works in a “business organisation” and is only sometimes forced, against his will, to defend himself with violence against malevolent competition.

In reality, the gangster was probably no more sympathetic then than he is now. Today one finds him in large criminal organisations that are hard to get to since illegally acquired capital is quickly pumped into legal businesses. In Roberto Saviano’s book, Gomorra from 2006, which later became a film, the complex criminal activity of the Camorra clan in Naples is portrayed, an activity that exists on all levels and controls whole societies. In Swedish literature too the contemporary gangster has come under the spotlight. The book Svensk maffia (Swedish Mafia) by the journalists Lasse Wierup and Matti Larsson describe in detail the structures of the criminal motorcycle gangs which rely on one hundred percent loyalty and brutal violence à la mafia model. Jens Lapidus best-selling novel Snabba cash (Quick cash) is about drug trafficking within the Yugoslavian mafia in Sweden. Karolina Ramqvist’s novel Flickvännen (The Girlfriend) puts the focus on the wife, seldom portrayed in gangster contexts, the one who prefers to know as little as possible about her husband’s doings but is happy to enjoy the fruits of his work. The fact that the gangster is somewhat an icon can also be seen in contemporary music. In hip-hop, for example, gangster rap has become a genre of its own. The texts consist of verbal attacks on society in general and the police in particular, but are also largely a cocky boasting about the rappers’ fortunes and status symbols in the form of luxury cars, jewellery and designer clothes. Not quite as sympathetic a gangster but nonetheless admired by many young people who dream about ‘becoming someone’.

Perhaps part of our infatuation with the gangster can be explained by the notion that he quite simply appeals to a rebellious, forbidden side of us. It is more fun to cheer for the guy who is smarter than the system, than for the policeman who follows the law to the letter. What is more it is easier to identify with a decently dressed gangster who protects his family and who wants to make a bit of cash by smart deals, than it is to relate to a simple supermarket robber with addiction problems.

That is why we continue to watch mafia films and hope that characters with names like Stefano “The Animal” Fabrini will get away and save their skins in the end. We laugh at the stupid gangsters Harry Clark and Jack Diamond who intend to extort money from Fred Graham in Kiss me Kate. And we want prim and proper Sarah Brown to fall for Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, despite the fact that he is a slippery type who has only invited her out so as to win a bet.

From GöteborgsOperan’s general programme 2009/2010.

Nathan Detroit and Harry the Horse.
Nathan Detroit and Harry the Horse.

Guys and DollsMats Bäcker


  • Genre: Musical
  • Season: 2009/2010
  • premiere: 24 Oct 2009
  • Last show: 28 Mar 2010
  • Location:

    Main Stage

  • Length: 3 hours including 1 pause.
  • Info:Göteborg Opera Main Stage


Conductor   Nick Davies
Conductor   Finn Rosengren
Director   Hans Berndtsson
Set Design   Mikael Varhelyi
Costume Design   Jaana Fomin
Choreography   Gunilla Olsson Karlsson
Lighting Design   Palle Palmé
Sound Design   Thorbjörn Andersson

Role list

Miss Sarah Brown   Evelyn Jons
Sky Masterson   Timo Nieminen
Miss Adelaide   Anna-Maria Hallgarn
Nathan Detroit   Erik Gullbransson
Gottigottgott   David Lundqvist
Benny   Anders Wängdahl
Rusty Charlie   Tobias Ahlsell
Harry the Horse   Michael Jansson
Ruth   Ingahlill Gauffin Wagelin
Big Jule   Mikael Simlund
Lieutenant Brannigan   Björn Thudén
General Cartwright   Susanne Albertus
Mimmi   Karolin Funke
Fiffi   Anna Werner
Master of ceremonies   David Inghamn
Joey Biltmore/The Greek   Sleiman Aoun
Martha   Mio Netzler Liljedahl
Simon   Marcus Liljedahl
Calvin   Mikael Johansson
The Göteborg Opera Orchestra


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