The music by Cy Coleman burst out of the pit of the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater with grand flair and style. Dance hall hostess Charity made her way onto the stage, dancing her little dance with a sweet fashion that becomes characteristic of her personality throughout the 1960s musical appropriately named Sweet Charity.
Nevada Koenig portrayed that sweetness and purity in Charity beautifully with an unbridled and unlimited amount of excitement and belief in the greatness in people. With “big” dreams for her life, Charity’s aspirations can be viewed as naively sweet, which makes the heartbreak she experiences over and over that much more painful to watch.
Charity comes across film star Vittorio Vidal for a night to remember, and Blake Bojewski gave the audience a song to remember as his majestic voice floated through the air in his showstopping number, “Too Many Tomorrows.” As Charity laments about greatness and love, the fickle finger of fate finally falls in her favor during the hilarious elevator scene with Oscar, played by Lake Wilburn who captured the panic with excellent comedic acting and accurately showed Oscar’s personality as a timid guy stuck in his own head.
Sweet Charity is basically a romantic comedy musical with a small dance show in the middle of the first act. The dance number for “Rich Man’s Frug” was spectacular in every sense. It actually felt like a real dance show and I never wanted it to end. Again, the ensemble brought the energy to the stage as the Rhythm of Life Church, which indeed is a powerful beat.
While Charity may not have purity in the purest sense, she still possessed a purity that is rare in the world today: she believed in the best of people and in the best of the future, and that is a sweet purity that is hard to come by.
Overall, Sweet Charity was a wonderful production by the Department of Musical Theatre in every aspect, from the costumes to the pit orchestra to the set designs to the acting to the choreography to the singing. Though I am not a huge romcom fan, I enjoyed this musical and its message of pure bliss and hope greatly, particularly because of the phenomenal orchestra and cast that made Sweet Charity that much sweeter.