What happens when the legendary choreographer Bob Fosse meets the cinematic genius of Federico Fellini? That, my friends is how the Broadway classic Sweet Charity came about. After seeing Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, Fosse engaged playwright Neil Simon, composer Cy Coleman, and lyricist Dorothy Fields to help him put together this light-hearted, yet touching, musical.
|Heidi Morrow Hahn|
Photo credit: P. Switzer
The Arvada Center's current production, directed by Alan Osburn, features a host of talented singers and hoofers. Heidi Morrow Hahn shines in the Gwen Verdon/Shirley MacLane role of Charity Hope Valentine. Hahn's "Gosh, gee whiz" endearing innocence, award-winning dance talent, and pleasing voice carries her sweet character through an incredible array of heart-breaking and hilarious encounters.
Though "unlucky in love" may best describe Charity's track record, she never gives up HopeHey, that's her middle name!in search of a man worth giving her heart to. In the course of this odyssey, Charity encounters Vittorio Vidal, an aging cinematic heartthrob (a smooth and passionate Lothario in the hands of Daniel Guzman) and, finally, Oscar Linquist, a handsome but emotionally challenging remodeling project played with aplomb by Rick Hilsabeck.
Hahn is backed up by Mercedes Perez and Kathy Kautz, as Nickie and Helene, her best friends and co-workers at the Fan-Dango Ballroom where they all serve as taxi-dancers. Perez and Kautz, both fine comediennes, polished character actors and experienced dancers, keep the audience in stitches.
The production numbers are all splashy, from the provocative "Big Spender" through "The Rhythm of Life." We're also treated to pleasing renditions of the hat and cane soft shoe "If My Friends Could See Me Now" and the poignant "Somebody Loves Me," not to mention the slick orchestration topped off with a very sassy female brass section.
All in all, a stylish and well-executed revival of an endearing paean to Gotham's everyday people a couple of generations back. Sweet Charity runs through May 6th at the Arvada Center. 303-431-3939