Real-life love story for Surrey couple in ‘Guys & Dolls’ musical at Arts Club theatre

Co-starring actors Chelsea Rose and Jonathan Winsby are engaged to be married
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Chelsea Rose (as Sergeant Sarah Brown) co-stars with fiancé Jonathan Winsby (Sky Masterson) in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “Guys & Dolls,” at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in Vancouver until June 30. (Contributed photo: David Cooper/ACTC)

It’s quite a story how actors Chelsea Rose and Jonathan Winsby met on set, began dating, are engaged to be married and now co-star in a big, fun, Broadway musical on the iconic Vancouver stage where their romance first blossomed.

Surrey residents Rose and Winsby play Bible-thumping Sarah Brown and high-rolling gambler Sky Masterson in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Guys & Dolls, which opened Wednesday (May 22) at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.

Rare is a chance for real-life lovers to play characters who kiss and, in this story set in 1950s New York City, fall for each other in a song-filled adventure of attracted opposites.

Rose was long ago given the role of Brown, but Winsby was late to the party when cast as Masterson and, in a fun, romantic twist, kept his involvement a secret from Rose until the last minute.

Smiling, she explains.

“I was given the role by (Arts Club artist director) Ashlie Corcoran just after The Sound of Music (in which she super-starred as Maria, also at the Stanley, in 2022),” Rose said, “so I’ve been holding onto this role for a while.

“This guy, however, had left the industry and has been a mailman for the last couple of years,” she added during a Zoom call with Winsby. “When he saw that I had this role and that they were auditioning the role of Sky, he thought he would email Ashley and ask if it would be worthwhile for him to come in and audition.”

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Actors Chelsea Rose and Jonathan Winsby, engaged to be married this fall, in a Zoom conference call with reporter Tom Zillich, with Surrey Now-Leader. (Screenshot)

Winsby has performed in several shows at the Stanley over the years, including a 2021 production of Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, which also starred Rose. That’s when they first met.

“I kind of took some time off to do the regular 9-to-5 thing,” he explained. “Knowing that Chelsea had already been cast (in Guys & Dolls), I thought it would be really cute to surprise her with an audition. Chelsea had to come in to read with prospective Skys and I got in touch with Ashley and asked if I could come in, not expecting anything past just this audition. Dressed up in a full suit, in the fedora and the whole thing, I came in on the day and she (Rose) had no idea that I was going to be doing it. I took the day off of work and came in and surprised her.”

Indeed, Rose was completely surprised when Winsby showed up at the audition.

“And then the best part about it, of course,” he continued, “is it went so well that after that audition, I get a phone call from Ashlie saying, ‘So, what are the chances of you potentially taking three months off of work to be able to do the show, because the two of you did such a great job?’ Some T’s were crossed and some I’s were dotted and it worked out. I’m on a bit of a leave at this moment, but we have a pretty good audition story.”

Guilford-area residents since February, Rose and Winsby plan to marry this fall.

This spring and early summer, they’re busy on stage with close to two dozen other actors in Guys & Dolls, packed with award-winnings songs and snappy dialogue. It’s a razzle-dazzle production that includes a set well-lit with close to 4,000 bulbs.

Winsby’s character makes a bet that involves a trip to Cuba with conservative Brown (Rose), who is hell-bent on “saving” the sinners of bustling New York City.

“It’s kind of the story of how the two of them get together and then of course, are pulled apart when she finds out some gambling has come into the mix of their relationship,” Winsby explains, “and it’s about mending that broken relationship at the end.”

• RELATED: Metal, Maria & ‘The Sound of Music’ for Surrey’s Chelsea Rose, who blossoms on many stages.

Rose, who grew up in Newton and performed at Sullivan Heights while in secondary school, says it’s been fun performing and rehearsing with fiancé Winsby, who grew up in North Delta.

“It’s been easy and it’s been nice for our relationship too, to get to work together and to see each other in that element and then to be able to take it home and work on some scenes sometimes,” Rose noted. “On the drive in, we’re always singing the songs and working on the scenes together, so it’s pretty fun.”

In his programme bio, Winsby says he’s “blessed to be performing in this show with his soon-to-be ‘forever doll.’”

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Five co-stars of Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “Guys & Dolls,” at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in Vancouver until June 30. Pictured from left are Madeleine Suddaby, Josh Epstein, Chelsea Rose, Jonathan Winsby and Tenaj Williams. (Contributed photo: David Cooper/ACTC)

The Arts Club’s Guys & Dolls is a toe-tapping, laugh-triggering good time at the Stanley until June 30. As director Corcoran says, the show “holds a special place in the hearts of theatre lovers for its blend of humour, romance, and irresistible charm.” Tickets start at $39 on artsclub.com, where special performances during the run are listed.

The musical’s large cast features Rose and Winsby along with Paul Almeida, Meghan Anderssen, Sarah Cantuba, Graham Coffeng, Andrew Cownden, Sharon Crandall, Daniel Curalli, Caleb Di Pomponio, Yasmin D’Oshun, Ghislaine Doté, Josh Epstein, Daniela Fernandez, Shannon Hanbury, Tim Howe, Victor Hunter, Ashley O’Connell, Tom Pickett, Jason Sakaki, Madeleine Suddaby, Marco Walker-Ng, Tenaj Williams and Terrence Zhou. The muscians are Ken Cormier, Martin Fisk, Angus Kellett, Vince Mal, Sasha Niechoda, Ingrid Stitt and Cam Wilson.



Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and townmillbrewery
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