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Sweet Charity Review – Glitzy with a Punch

Sweet Charity, a performance that will knock your socks off, is currently playing at the Lincolnshire Marriott Theatre trough Oct 28. Don’t miss the chance to see glitzy, and fun filled production, which also packs a social wallop. It is based on Federico Fellini’s screenplay for “Nights of Cabiria”. Sweet Charity, features a mid-1960s score by Cy Coleman, sparkling lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and a hilarious book by Neil Simon. Jeff Award-nominee Alex Sanchez, brilliantly directs and choreographs this dazzling performance, and brings amazing dance sequences to life on stage. The live music under the direction of Jeff Award-winning Musical Director Ryan T. Nelson enhances the performance.

This production has everything to recommend it. Anne Horak is a force of nature- a remarkable “triple threat” whose acting, singing and dancing were perfection. On the set for almost the entire time, I was astounded at the energy she poured forth in the last dance number. And she was absolutely convincing in her role as Charity Hope Valentine.

The staging at the Marriott always intrigues me. The stage that is surrounded by audience on all sides miraculously delivers visibility from every direction and brings the audience into the action. The sets were perfect. The costumes were fabulous. The dancing was outstanding, as was the singing.

So, how does a musical that premiered on Broadway in 1966, where it was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, about a hopelessly romantic girl looking for love and working in a Times Square dance hall, translate to the current views of women?

Interestingly, while I was caught up in the fantastic dancing, the wonderful songs that included, “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” and the theme song, “Big Spender”, and rolling in the aisles with the hysterically funny scenes, I realized that there was a deeper story. This was the story of women who wanted to find a better way to support themselves and a better life but were trapped in their jobs at the dance hall. All this is, except one.

I loved this production- the way the monitors helped to tell the story, all of the dancing but especially the “Rich Man’s Frug”, Adam Jacobs’ singing as he portrayed Vittorio Vidal, the elevator scene in Alex Goodrich was an hysterically funny Oscar Lindquist, while Kenny Ingram was captivating as Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck.

Interestingly, the musical was adapted for the screen in 1969 with Shirley MacLaine as Charity and John McMartin recreating his Broadway role as Oscar Lindquist. Bob Fosse directed and choreographed this film.