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Sweet Charity

Casting headliners with box office power is standard operating procedure for touring shows. And sure, they may pack 'em in, but can they act? We've seen Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees, Matthew Broderick in How to Succeed in Business, Hayley Mills in The King and I, Joan Collins in Bon Voyage, etc. Now, on the heels of Christina Applegate's success in Sweet Charity on Broadway, we have Molly Ringwald bringing the show to Denver. Well, Ringwald CAN act, and dance, and sing, and she's backed up by a terrific cast all wrapped in an impressively conceived and directed production.

Molly Ringwald as Sweet Charity
Molly Ringwald as Sweet Charity
Photo: Andrew Eccles
That's not to say the former Brat Pack comedienne is gonna bowl you over, but she will win your heart as the hard-luck-in-love Charity Hope Valentine, a "social consultant" at the Fandango ballroom in NYC. Tuning in to Charity's sunny disposition, Ringwald charms us into believing she is the sweet innocent woman that Oscar sees when he gets trapped in the elevator with her.

Part contortionist, part neurotic, Guy Adkins, crawls out of his skin and all over the walls in a claustrophobic fit in the famous elevator scene. Adkins strikes just the right tone to come off as a schlep rather than a heel.

Amanda Watkins and Kisha Howard are a gas as Nickie and Helene, Charity's closest pals, always quick with the quip and quite the hoofers—and they know how to sell a song.

Director Scott Faris and choreographer Wayne Cilento stay true to Bob Fosse's original concept and Walter Bobbie's 2005 revival, but keep things fresh and impressively up-tempo, particularly in the first act, which lends itself to a brisk pace.

All the craft work is top-notch, even with the throw back pastels.

If you don't remember the '60's, the "Rhythm of Life Church" will jog what's left of your memory. The dance numbers are classics and the old standards—"Big Spender" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now"—are worth the price of admission.

Denver Center Attractions presentation of Sweet Charity runs through December 17th. 303-893-4100, 800-641-1222, or www.denvercenter.org.

 

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