Al Hirschfeld Theatre, (5/04/2005 - 12/31/2005)

First Preview: Apr 11, 2005
Opening Date: May 04, 2005
Closing Date: Dec 31, 2005
Total Previews: 25
Total Performances: 279

Category: Musical, Comedy, Revival, Broadway
Setting: New York City. Mid 1960s.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Jujamcyn Theaters (Rocco Landesman: President; Paul Libin: Producing Director; Jack Viertel: Creative Director)

Produced by Barry & Fran Weissler and Clear Channel Entertainment; Produced in association with Edwin W. Schloss, Allen Spivak and Harvey Weinstein; In association with Hazel Feldman and Sam Feldman; Associate Producer: Daniel M. Posener and Jay Binder

Book by Neil Simon; Music by Cy Coleman; Lyrics by Dorothy Fields; Based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano; Music orchestrated by Don Sebesky; Musical Director: Donald York; Additional Musical and Vocal Arrangements by Michael Rafter; Additional dance arrangements by Jim Abbott

Directed by Walter Bobbie; Choreographed by Wayne Cilento; Associate Director: Marc Bruni; Associate Choreographer: Ted Banfalvi and Corinne McFadden

Scenic Design by Scott Pask; Costume Design by William Ivey Long; Lighting Design by Brian MacDevitt; Sound Design by Peter Hylenski; Hair Design by Paul Huntley; Make-Up Design by Angelina Avallone; Associate Scenic Design: Orit Carroll; Associate Costume Design: Martha Bromelmeier; Associate Lighting Design: Charlie Pennebaker; Associate Sound Design: Anthony Smolenski

General Manager: B.J. Holt; Executive Producer: Alecia Parker; For Clear Channel Entertainment: Jennifer Costello; Company Manager: Hilary Hamilton; Associate Gen. Mgr: Michael Buchanan

Production Supervisor: Arthur Siccardi; Production Stage Manager: David O'Brien; Stage Manager: Beverly Jenkins and Stephen R. Gruse

Musical Coordinator: John Miller; Conducted by Donald York; Associate Conductor: John Samorian; Keyboards: John Samorian; Trumpets: Don Downs and Glenn Drewes; Trombones: Keith O'Quinn and Jeffrey Nelson; French Horn: Brad Gemeinhardt; Reeds: Chuck Wilson, Walt Weiskopf, Tom Christensen and Roger Rosenberg; Guitar: Ed Hamilton; Bass: Bill Holcomb; Drums: David Ratajczak; Percussion: Charles Descarfino; Violins: Mineko Yajima, Cecelia Hobbs Gardner and Jonathan Dinklage; Cello: Stephanie Cummins; Music Copyist: Kaye-Houston Music; Keyboard Programmer: Karl Mansfield

Casting: Jay Binder and Laura Stanczyk; Press Representative: Barlow-Hartman Public Relations and Dennis Crowley; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Paul Kolnik; Dance Captain: Reginald Holden Jennings; V.P. World Wide Marketing: Scott Moore; Marketing Manager: Ken Sperr

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Opening Night Cast

Christina ApplegateCharity Hope Valentine
Kyra Da CostaHelene
Rhett G. GeorgeDaddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck
Janine LaMannaNickie
Shannon LewisUrsula
Denis O'HareOscar Lindquist
Ernie SabellaHerman
(Apr 11, 2005 - Jun 10, 2005)
Paul SchoefflerVittorio Vidal
Todd AndersonQuartet
Joyce ChittickDaddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir
(Apr 11, 2005 - Dec 11, 2005)
(Apr 11, 2005 - Dec 11, 2005)
Tim CraskeyEnsemble
Dylis CromanRosie
Anika EllisDaddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir
Bob GaynorQuartet
Tyler HanesCharlie
Manuel HerreraEnsemble
Kisha HowardEnsemble
Mylinda HullDaddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir
Amy Nicole KrawcekEnsemble
Corinne McFaddenFrug Dancer
Marielys MolinaEnsemble
Timothy Edward SmithPoliceman
Seth StewartEnsemble

Swings: Alexis Carra and Reginald Holden Jennings

Standby: Charlotte d'Amboise (Charity Hope Valentine)

Understudies: Joyce Chittick (Nickie), Dylis Croman (Charity Hope Valentine), Anika Ellis (Helene), Bob Gaynor (Vittorio Vidal), Corinne McFadden (Ursula) and Timothy Edward Smith (Oscar)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2005 Best Revival of a Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Barry & Fran Weissler and Clear Channel Entertainment; Produced in association with Edwin W. Schloss

 2005 Best Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Christina Applegate

 2005 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Wayne Cilento

Drama Desk Award

 2005 Outstanding Revival of a Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Barry & Fran Weissler and Clear Channel Entertainment; Produced in association with Edwin W. Schloss

 2005 Outstanding Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Christina Applegate

winner 2005 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Denis O'Hare

 2005 Outstanding Set Design of a Musical [nominee] 

Scott Pask

Theatre World

winner 2005 Award [recipient] 

Christina Applegate


music by Cy Coleman; lyrics by Dorothy Fields

ACT 1 Sung By
You Should See YourselfCharity
Big SpenderNickie, Helene and The Company
Charity's SoliloquyCharity
Rich Man's FrugThe Company
If My Friends Could See Me NowCharity
Too Many TomorrowsVittorio Vidal
There's Gotta Be Something Better Than ThisCharity, Nickie and Helene
I'm The Bravest IndividualCharity and Oscar
ACT 2 Sung By
Rhythm of LifeCharity, Oscar, Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck, Daddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir and The Company
A Good ImpressionOscar and The Quartet
Baby Dream Your DreamNickie and Helene
Sweet CharityOscar and The Company
Big Spender (Reprise) The Company
Where Am I GoingCharity
I'm A Brass BandCharity and The Company
I Love To Cry At WeddingsHerman and The Company
I'm The Bravest Individual (Reprise) Charity


AP: "Sweet Charity Has Mixed Results"

She's not named Charity Hope Valentine for nothing. The operative word here is "hope," the wish that everything will turn out for the best, no matter what happens.

It would be nice to report that things have come together triumphantly for "Sweet Charity," the problem-plagued revival which opened Wednesday at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Yet the production, like its heroine's efforts in the love department, delivers mixed, bittersweet results.

In its turbulent journey to New York, the musical has experienced more drama offstage than on. Star Christina Applegate broke her right foot in March during the show's Chicago tryout, and the Broadway production was canceled after its next stop, in Boston, where standby Charlotte d’Amboise took over the role. Yet Applegate's determination resurrected it.

Applegate, still best known these days for her role as a trampy teenager on the old sitcom "Married ... With Children," is a trouper who works hard to fill the Hirschfeld stage. As the dance-hall hostess with terrible luck in men, she's visually fetching.

Wearing a skimpy red dress, Applegate exudes a perky confidence, capturing Charity's incongruous innocence as a woman who works at the notorious Fandango Ballroom. It's a place where, as one of its more hard-bitten employees says, "We don't dance. We defend ourselves to music."

Neil Simon's book, vaguely based on Federico Fellini's film "Nights of Cabiria," chronicles Charity's luckless adventures in love -first, with a married boyfriend, who manages to steal her purse and push her into the lake in Central Park; then an Italian film star who has another woman he wants to make jealous, and finally, a nerdy accountant named Oscar Lindquist with serious commitment issues.

Applegate's voice is small but serviceable and her dancing understandably a bit cautious. Yet she doesn't have the outsized personality required to carry the show - a personality Gwen Verdon, in the 1966 original, must have possessed.

The star's lack of theater experience is all the more noticeable when she comes up against other cast members, particularly Denis O'Hare, as that claustrophobic accountant who meets Charity in a stalled elevator in the 92nd Street Y.

O'Hare is commandingly funny, even touching, until a bizarre twist at the end of the show. And there are generous supporting performances from Janine LaManna and Kyra Da Costa as two of Charity's dance-hall cohorts, Paul Schoeffler as the Italian cinema biggie and Ernie Sabella as the owner of the Fandango.

What has held up quite sturdily over the last four decades is the thoroughly ingratiating score, jaunty music by Cy Coleman and effortless lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Songs such as "I'm A Brass Band," "Where Am I Going?" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now" are reminders of what those two masters could produce.

And, of course, there's "Big Spender," a number most identified with the show's original director and choreographer, the legendary Bob Fosse. It's a bit of a shock to see the song done now with new choreography by Wayne Cilento. His dance routines don't ape Fosse, but occasionally pay homage to him -without much style or complexity of their own.

Walter Bobbie has directed the production in fits and starts, but that may have something to do with the sketch-like nature of Simon's script. The physical production looks anemic, despite ail the aggressively bright colors (it's set in the 1960s after all) that surround designer Scott Pask's bargain-basement scenery.

There's an eerie subtext to one of show's lesser known songs, "I'm the Bravest Individual," sung by Charity and Oscar in that celebrated elevator scene. You could say the same about Applegate's performance. She has put herself on the line in this show. One wishes though for a happier ending.


New York Daily News: "Giving her all to 'Charity,' but it may not be enough"

After six months of bad publicity - the sudden death of its composer shortly after rehearsals began, the injury of its star and a closing and reopening in Boston -"Sweet Charity" finally made it to Broadway.

And Broadway loves a happy ending.

The show far exceeded the minimal expectations it had raised.

So did its star, Christina Applegate, who is a winning and deeply likable performer.

She sings well and kicks with gusto. Whether she is credible in the title role - a dance-hall hostess who imagines love is just around the corner - raises larger questions.

"Charity" was always a problematic show. Director Walter Bobbie has not made it stronger, but the score remains joyous, and Applegate is, above all, endearing.

Still, the story is awkward. It begins with the naive Charity being pushed in the drink by a man she imagined wanted to marry her but who wanted only her purse.

Like "Nights of Cabiria," the Fellini movie on which it was based, the original 1966 book, written by Neil Simon, ended with the heroine back in the water. Here, the blow has been somewhat softened.

Giulietta Massina, who starred in the movie, and Gwen Verdon, the original Broadway star, were both Chaplinesque. There was a sadness lurking just below the surface that deepened both the humor and the pathos.

With Applegate, all you get is the perkiness. Given the weaknesses of the book, that may not be enough.

The biggest flaw is the "romance" between Applegate and Denis O'Hare, who plays a prissy accountant. Nothing about their relationship is credible, which means the whole second act has no narrative pull.

The best part of "Sweet Charity" has been its Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields score, especially "Big Spender," which gets a rousing rendition.

Janine LaManna and Kyra Da Costa do a beautiful job with "Baby, Dream Your Dream." Ernie Sabella gets great mileage out of "I Love to Cry at Weddings."

What should be Applegate's big number, "I'm a Brass Band," is here given largely to the chorus doing halftime maneuvers.

Wayne Cilento's choreography is much more exciting in "Rich Man's Frug."

The production makes shrewd use of backlighting that silhouettes Applegate, adding a spark to her dancing in several numbers.

William Ivey Long's costumes for Charity's fellow dance-hall hostesses have a witty lewdness. Brian MacDevitt's lighting provides constant compensation for Scott Pask's cheap-looking sets.

New York Daily News

New York Post: "'Sweet' Heart"

Broadway Rule No. 1: When a show is in previews, pay no attention to out-of-town reviews, word of mouth or gossip. Particularly gossip.

Granted, it's hard to see any show with a completely open mind, especially when it's "Sweet Charity," which almost unexpectedly opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre last night after a saga of misadventures that made the Perils of Pauline sound like a theme-park ride.

Surprise, surprise: It's pretty damn good. And Christina Applegate - much maligned for her talent and condescendingly admired for her spunk and persistence - is damn good as well.

I wasn't as surprised as I should have been. I had snuck in (paying the box-office ransom for my ticket) at the end of the first week of previews to see Charlotte D'Amboise play Charity.

Consequently, I knew the show was in far better shape than those Broadway insiders suggested, and was likely to improve with time. It has.

But this is a show that starts and ends with Charity. And Applegate - the ankle-impaired star of TV, but Broadway unknown - is good. Not better than the brilliant and far more experienced D'Amboise, and not as polished, but Applegate, as pretty as a picture and as cool as a Popsicle, emerges from the entire ordeal of this opening triumphant and glistening.

Bob Fosse formulated "Sweet Charity" in 1966 as a vehicle for his sometime wife Gwen Verdon.

The book, originally by Fosse but rewritten by Neil Simon, is based on the great Federico Fellini's movie "Nights of Cabiria," about a sweet and sparrowlike Italian prostitute and her rough luck with men.

In the musical, the heroine is a taxi dancer in one of those "10-cents-a-dance" palaces.

Despite a few nice Simonesque touches, the book is still thin and episodic, with brave little Charity shining through veils of disillusion.

The show is really little more than a row of pegs upon which to hang Cy Coleman's gorgeously glittering razzmatazz tunes - with their upbeat Dorothy Fields lyrics - and the dances.

Unlike the 1986 revival starring Debbie Allen, Walter Bobbie's nifty staging has been completely rethought and retooled.

The choreographer Wayne Cilento doesn't simply Fosse-lize the dances, but gives them their own punch and individuality.

The always dazzling, always unexpected Denis O'Hare does such an exultant, cartwheeling star-turn as the shy but prissy suitor Oscar that he almost overturns the applecart, not to say Applegate.

Fundamentally, though, it's all about Charity. D'Amboise, currently Broadway's best star dancer, not unexpectedly danced and sang a great deal better.

But Applegate has the edge of youth and a natural vulnerability compared with the more contrived vulnerability of both Verdon and later D'Amboise.

Of course, the role of Charity is better than the musical itself, but when Coleman's music is blazing along like Sousa in a dark jazz overdrive, if the Charity is right, as here, you'll have a great time.

New York Post

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Al Hirschfeld Theatre

(5/4/2005 - 12/31/2005)
Stage Manager: Bryan Landrine(Dec 1, 2005 - ?); Production Stage Manager: Marybeth Abel.

Violins: Elizabeth Nielsen.

Press Representative: Ryan Ratelle.


Rob Bartlett
Herman (Jun 11, 2005 - Sep 18, 2005)
Gerrard Carter
Ensemble (Jul 2005 - Dec 31, 2005)
Marcus Choi
Dylis Croman
Fandango Girl
Charlotte d'Amboise
During the first week of previews during Christina Applegate's injury
Charity Hope Valentine (Apr 11, 2005 - Apr 16, 2005)
Joey Dowling
Fandango Girl
Bob Gaynor
Kearran Giovanni
Kisha Howard
Mylinda Hull
Wayne Knight
Herman (Sep 20, 2005 - Nov 20, 2005)
Keith Kühl
Nina Lafarga
Shannon Lewis
Fandango Girl
J. Elaine Marcos
Daddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir (Sep 2005 - ?)
Ensemble (Sep 2005 - ?)
Corinne McFadden
Fandango Girl
Marielys Molina
Fandango Girl
Ernie Sabella
Herman (Nov 25, 2005 - ?)
Eric Sciotto
LaQuet Sharnell
Daddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir
Timothy Edward Smith
92nd St. Y Receptionist
Nicole Snelson
Daddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir
Woman at the 92nd St. Y
Amanda Watkins
Daddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir

Understudies: Alexis Carra (Nickie), Joey Dowling (Ursula), Bob Gaynor (Oscar Lindquist), Eric Sciotto (Vittorio Vidal), LaQuet Sharnell (Helene), Timothy Edward Smith (Herman), Nicole Snelson (Helene), Amanda Watkins (Nickie).

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