November 29, 2016
By Leonard Golubchck, LaborPress Entertainment Editor
Sweet Charity is a Sweet Revival
New York, NY – “Sweet Charity” is a trimmed down version for off-Broadway in a small 200 seat theater where every seat is a good one. This sweet revival is a New Group Production and is directed by Leigh Silverman.
The original 1966 show starred Gwen Verdon and directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. The musical was written by Neil Simon and music and lyrics by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields. Starring in this stripped down version with an all-female five piece band is Sutton Foster as Charity Valentine, The production co-stars Shuler Hensley and Joel Perez who plays several roles.
In 1990 I had dinner at the Friars Club with Cy Coleman and Irving Caesar ( Tea for Two and Swanee) where Cy Coleman spoke of his wonderful collaboration with Dorothy Fields, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Mr. Coleman spoke fondly of the original production and spoke about how the musical came together with a wonderful group of people. Some ten years later Sutton Foster visited the school where I was Principal (PS 20M). Ms. Foster spoke and sang for our fifth graders as well as answered questions. At that time it was obvious she had the stage presence and deportment to be a wonderful personality in the theater.
For the current production of “Sweet Charity” Sutton Foster a two time Tony Award winner, provides a tour de force performance. Ms. Foster has never been better and has the comic timing which places her in the category of the great Carol Burnett.
I have seen all of Sutton Foster’s performances on the stage and she has never been better. She shines in such memorable songs as “If My Friends Could See Me Now”, “Big Spender”, “I am a Brass Band” and “I am the Bravest Individual”. Sutton Foster’s powerful voice and actions gives Charity a personality of all to its own.
Since dance is a vital ingredient to make this show larger than life, Joshua Bergasse choreographed the dance routines with guile and adds meaning to the show’s message of hope.
There is no doubt everyone will enjoy this wonderful revival which may be headed towards Broadway.