Sweet Charity at the Marriott Theatre has hope, faith and Charity herself

Sweet Charity at the Marriott Theatre has hope, faith and Charity herself
Anne Horakand Alex Goodrich.

And she lived hopefully ever after

Sweet Charity at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is the perfect showcase for choreographer Bob Fosse's classic dance moves and playwright Neil Simon's creative wit.

The show provides a masterclass in dance and comedy sprinkled with hope via the show's central character Charity Hope Valentine.

Fosse, a native of Chicago, won eight Tony Awards for Sweet Charity when it first played on Broadway in the 1960's--a record that still holds today. The show also received a Tony for direction. 

Smartly, Director/choreographer Alex Sanchez embraces Fosse's one-of-a-kind style keeping the original choreography intact--showcasing his use of turned-in knees, the famous "Fosse Amoeba," sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders, and jazz.

Sanchez also incorporates other Fosse elements into the production including his bowler hats, canes and chairs--making Sweet Charity what some call the Fossiest of all Bob Fosse shows.

In approaching Sweet Charity Sanchez says that he focused a great deal on Charity’s courage and optimism,” continuing that his "goal was to highlight the epiphanies Charity discovers throughout her life journey, and how her positive outlook and willingness to become a better person can overcome all obstacles she is faced with.”

Based on Federico Fellini’s screenplay for “Nights of Cabiria” Sweet Charity is a microcosm of mid-1960s NYC when times were a changing but not fast enough for Charity who was living life as a stereotypical  dance hall girl with heart of gold and a boatload of hope knowing that "There's gotta be something better (than this)."  

Sweet Charity Frug

Sweet Charity Frug

Unfortunately the storyline doesn't cut it in today's world. If taken literally, it is an insult to women who definitely play a  second-class role to the men in the show.

Of course, this is always the question with revivals--do they hold up to the times? But that doesn't mean they should be forgotten. Nor does it mean that we need to rewrite history.

This was the 1960's for many women. Certainly not all--but a lot. And we see the repercussions today as we look back through our 21st century lens with many women re-living those  "MeToo" moments from the past.
sweetcharitybig-spender-2Beyond that--if you can get beyond that--and you should try--because the show has much to offer--including electrifying classic music including "Big Spender," "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Too Many Tomorrows," "There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This," "I’m a Brass Band,” and “Baby, Dream Your Dream."

And if that still isn't enough there's more. Like the captivating dance sequences, the talented and energetic cast and the magnificent staging.

A highlight of the show is "The Rhythm of Life" act where Kenny Ingram, who plays Daddy Brubeck, the leader of an underground church gives a performance of which Sammy Davis, Jr. (the original Daddy Brubeck) would highly approve.sweetcharityanne-horak-1

Sweet Charity stars Anne Horak as “Charity Hope Valentine” (Broadway: Chicago, White Christmas), Alex Goodrich as “Oscar Lindquist” (The Marriott Theatre: World Premiere of HERO, She Loves Me, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, ELF, and On the Town)Adam Jacobs as “Vittorio Vidal” (Broadway: Aladdin, The Lion King, Les Misérables), NaTonia Monét as “Helene,” Dani Spieler as “Nickie,” Kenny Ingram as “Daddy Brubeck,” Terry Hamilton as “Herman,” and Alexandra Palkovic as “Ursula,” with Joe Bigelow, Elyse Collier, Lexis Danca, Alex Dorf, Alejandro Fonseca, Eben K. Logan, Hanah Rose Nardone, Liam Quealy, Adam Rogers, Laura Savage, Alex Smith, Kyra Sorce, and Jessica Wolfrum.

The production features set design by Scott Davis, costume design by Mieka van der Ploeg, lighting design by Jesse Klug, video design by Anthony Churchill, sound design by Bob Gilmartin, properties design by Sally Zach, and musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood. 

Sweet Charity runs through October 28.

Rating: 3 stars
What: Sweet Charity
When: Now through October 28
Where: Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire
Tickets: To reserve tickets, call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847 634 0200 or go towww.ticketmaster.com.
Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

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Filed under: Theater in Chicago

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