Friday, November 25, 2005

Say It Ain't So..........

There are several reports that Britney Spears may be in talks to replace Christina Applegate in the Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. Certainly, no Broadway producer would permit this tragedy to happen. The Sweet Charity revival is a marvelous production full of energy, vitality, and show-stopping numbers including the incandescent "Rich Man's Frug," the gospel number, "The Rhythm of Life," and a true Broadway vamp: "Hey Big Spender."
This forty-year old classic musical is a delight with powerhouese performances by the entire cast-especially all of the supporting players Certainly, Britney Spears tabloid lifestyle would sell tickets, but there is nothing more absurd than thinking that she is right for the role of Charity Hope Valentine. While Broadway is commerical endeavor, it is an artisitc one as well. Charlotte D'ambiose or Karen Ziemba would make ideal choices to further this Gwen Verdon vehicle into the theater history books. It gets worse: the producers Barry and Fran Wiesler are considering adding Britney's husband, Kevin Federline to the cast as well. All of this "news" belong in Dr. Sanity's
carnival of the insanities! Here are some great links. Please say it ain't so.............

Check out this article at More news from Playbill.
Blogway Baby is one heck of a Broadway blogger.

The New York Post Article that started it all. Broadway World offers the usual complete coverage.

Here is my Review of SWEET CHARITY from this past July:
It was so hot while I was making my way to the Al Hirschfield Theater on Tuesday night, that I had to wonder if Sweet Charity would be worth the effort. A myriad of thoughts were flowing in my mind: The show almost closed in Boston after Christina Applegate broke her ankle, and only a true last minute, show-business miracle (meaning a lot of money) got this revivial on Broadway by the May 4 the deadline for entry into the 2005 Tony Award sweeps. Reading and research had indicated that this show was ok, and mostly a vehicle for its' original star, Gwen Verdon. The show seemed to be to a remnant of 1966 with little appeal to today's audience. While known for a couple of great numbers, the show appears on the surface to have failed to make it into the canon of widely performed shows. It is sometimes billed as a tawdry look at the life of a dance hall mistress. Boy, was I surprised!!
I would have willingly paid the price of the ticket ($102) just to see this ensemble perform the dance: "Rich Man's Frug"!! The design of this dance was classic Bob Fosse with just enough edge and revision to keep an audience member intranced for the full eight to nine minutes of this number. The orchestra, and I do mean orchestra-there were about twenty players (huge by today's broadway standards), played this music in stellar fashion with great bravura and showmanship! "Rich Man's Frug" was easily in the top fifteen numbers I have ever seen on Broadway, and that is really saying something big! The dancers movements were truly mesmorizing, and I found myself with chills at this glorious sight!
If "Rich Man's Frug" was the creme and the froth of Act I, "The Rythmn of Life" matched this energy and style in the second act. It was an amzing number with the emotion of a great revival meeting, the voice of a great WIZ, the dancing genuis of Bob Fosse, and the unbridled energy of 1966 all ensonced in one miraculous show-stopping moment. When the black character who sings the lead on "Rhythm of Life" opened his full-throated, big black man sound, there was a house quaking moment rarely felt on Broadway today. It was AMAZING! I had no idea of the total concept of "Rhythm of Life." This number must have revolutionized Broadway in 1966, even if this revival took some creative liberties in making this number fresh for 2005!! I wanted to stand up and cheer for fifteen minutes after both "Rich Man's Frug," and "The Rythmn of Life."

The supporting cast members in this show are stupendous! Dennis O'Hare is an actor and commedian of the first degree. He does not appear in the show until more than an hour into Act I. When he comes on, he seems meek and mild, but within four minutes, he has stopped the show with the greatest comedy seen since the great Carol Burnett show. He posessess a range of comedic tricks, and depth of character that a thrilling sight to behold! Janine LaManna and Kyra DaCosta have voices that will thrill and chill you, and both of these singing actors can steal a scene from anyone!

But this is a show that starts and ends with Charity Hope Valentine. And Christina Applegate - the ankle-impaired star of TV, but Broadway unknown - is good. I am certain that she is not better than the brilliant and far more experienced Charlotte 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 trying to get this show to Broadway triumphant and glistening.She brings obvious commitment and energy to the role, and a sincerity that is unique. It would be wonderful to see Karen Ziemba or Miss D'Amboise do the role.

Cy Coleman's music absolutley soars! the orchestrations are wonderful, and the music almost lifts you right out of your seat.
It was certainly my privelage to see this classic of Broadway. I wish I could attend again just to catch more of the show. The book by Neil Simon is echanting. I am sure that it pushed the broadway musical forward in 1966 with its' unhappy ending, and the sadness of Charity's life. it is amazing to think that when this show first appeared on Broadway, Hello Dolly was in its' original run, along with Funny Girl and Fiddler on the Roof. Sweet Charity really deserves its' place along side those great originals-it is simply a different genre.


Seth said...

Maybe someone will write a musical for Madonna and Brittney Spears and call it Evita meets Charity, LOL.

Great reviewing style, I've never been to Sweet Charity, though I used to go to the theater when I lived in N.Y. Since I'm moving back east, based on your highly electric review and barring Brittney muscling in on Christina's gig, I will definitely make a point of seeing the play.

I like your blog a lot and will definitely be making it a regular read.

Nicholas said...

> the producers Barry and Fran Wiesler are considering adding Britney's husband, Kevin Federline to the cast as well.

Given the supposed breakup between Buttney and Federline, you may be spared this much indignity, at least.