Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster stars in a new production of the musical "Sweet Charity" that comes courtesy of the off-Broadway company known as The New Group. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
“Sweet Charity,” that beloved musical from the '60s, is revived in a stripped-down version off-Broadway. Purists may balk, but director Leigh Silverman and her star, Sutton Foster, have given us a whole new reason to fall for that dance hall charmer Charity Hope Valentine.
Probably the most famous of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields' songs from the classic score, it's not so much rousing here as it is a bittersweet anthem to women in desperate straits. So memorably performed by Gwen Verdon in the original Broadway production and Shirley MacLaine on film, they're impossible to top. But Silverman's re-conception aims to get more intimate with Charity and her gal pals.
In the small performance space, no one is more than five rows from the stage. The proximity allows for a visceral experience up close and very personal.
As Charity, Sutton Foster once again pulls out all the stops, confirming her place in the pantheon of musical theatre stars. She breaks your heart one minute and splits a gut the next. Watching her make a sandwich brings to mind the comically inspired greats Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball.
The multi-cultural ensemble is a mixed bag, but I especially enjoyed Joel Perez, a wonderfully versatile performer in multiple roles. And Shuler Hensley is simply perfect as the endearingly neurotic Oscar.
Bob Fosse's iconic choreography is replaced by Joshua Bergasse's dances, supplying ample personality of their own. And the five-member all-female band is terrific, even without the brass.
It's somewhat fitting because this is not the typical brassy production. It marches to a subtler beat. Equally entertaining, it cuts deep with a poignantly resonant message of empowerment and, yes, hope.