Indiana University reimagines American musical theater classic, Sweet Charity

October 12, 2015

Sweet CharityRoberson.kennethBloomington, Ind – After making his IU Theatre directing debut with Into the Woods last year, Broadway dancer and choreographer Kenneth L. Roberson will direct Sweet Charity, opening November 6th.

With a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, and choreography by Bob Fosse, the original 1966 Broadway production received nine Tony Nominations for its depiction of love-starved dance hall gal, Charity Hope. While Sweet Charity has its roots in the musical theater of the period, the play is still lauded 50 years later for tackling a subject matter not typically explored in musical comedy.

Based on Federico Fellini’s film Nights of Cabiria, the play largely takes place in a gritty New York City dance hall, where men pay per song to tread the floor with “taxi dancers.”

“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,” explains Roberson. “These women weren’t officially prostitutes, but negotiations were certainly made at times.”

Put in a situation where her allure is sold for less than a dollar per dance, Charity Hope still holds out for a real connection with a partner.

“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,” says Roberson.

Working with designers Bridgette Dreher, Emmie Phelps, Aaron Bowersox, and Andrew Hopson, Roberson is striving to create a blackout-less fluid staging, featuring choreography inspired by Bob Fosse’s timeless original creations.

WHAT: Sweet Charity, presented by IU Theatre

WHEN: Nov. 6, 7, 10 – 14, 7:30pm, with 2pm matinee on Nov. 14

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for seniors. 812.855.1103 or For group discounts contact Stacy Brown (