We’ve got a couple of shows to talk about this week. One opens Friday, the other a week from Thursday.
This week’s IU opener is “Sweet Charity,” a Broadway musical from 1966. Because I was born in 1967, I’m not going to say “way back in 1966.” If you feel the need to insert those words mentally, then you’re mean. Anyway …
“Sweet Charity” features a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and choreography by Bob Fosse, so we’re talking about some pretty heavy hitters here. Like the musical “Nine,” this one is also based on a Federico Fellini film, “Nights of Cabiria.” It’s the story of a dance-hall girl named Charity Hope. (One can assume she is sweet.) We know she is desperate for love and hopeful she’ll find it — no small feat for a woman who makes a living as a taxi dancer, selling her time to men for less than a dollar a dance.
Director Kenneth Roberson says, “Because of the commercial restrictions of Broadway at that time, the play really walks a fine line in terms of the sexual nature of the taxi dancer situation. These women weren’t officially prostitutes, but negotiations were certainly made at times.”
Now that you’ve had a healthy gasp, I’ll tell you that the show is a comedy, and it’s uplifting. Not gritty like “Taxi Driver” or absurd like “Pretty Woman,” it finds its balance. And as the director says, “We can’t help but be inspired by Charity. Despite it all, she still believes in love and the possibility for that in her life.”
Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. Read the original preview here.