The current production at The Community Players is the 1966 musical "Sweet Charity". It is the musical misadventures of Charity Hope Valentine who is a dancer-for-hire at the Fan Dango Nightclub. It is based on Frederic Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria" which is very dark movie but this show was written by Neil Simon. "Sweet Charity" is the ups and downs of the gullible and guileless girl who wants to fall in love but meets a lot bumps in the road along the way. Director Greg Geer, musical director Mark Colozzi and choreographer, Lennie Machado put together an energetic dancing extravaganza that entertains the entire audience.
Greg knows how to create picture postcard moments in his shows and picks topnotch performers to fill these roles. Musical director Mark Colozzi plays the keyboards, makes the singers shine in their numbers while conducting a five piece orchestra. Choreographer Lennie Machado creates some fabulous intricate dances for the show including "Rich Man's Frug", "Big Spender", "Charity's Soliloquy", "I'm A Brass Band" and "I Love to Cry at Weddings". The topnotch set is by Michael Duarte who also plays Italian movie star Vittorio Vidal. He shows off his powerful voice in "Too Many Tomorrows''. Lisa Ziniti Palmer is terrific as Charity. She makes you root for her to find happiness. Her standout solos include the hat and cane dance number "If They Could See Me Now" and the poignant and heartbreaking "Where Am I Going". She tugs on your heartstring's in the latter song and in the last few moments of the show. Lisa also sounds marvelous in trio with the girls, "Something Better Than This" and in the huge group song "I'm A Brass Band". One of her funniest moments is when she is in the closet while waiting for her Italian lothario actor to finish reuniting with his girlfriend. Sweet Charity is another feather in Lisa's cap. Brava!
Kevin Broccoli plays Oscar, the man she meets in an elevator and eventually goes out with. His nervous behavior during this scene is comical. They sing "I'm The Bravest Individual" in the elevator scene and in the second act he sings "Sweet Charity" while they are at Coney Island. Playing Charity's close friends are Kerissa Roderick as Nikki and Helen Santos as Helene. They sparkle in their trio with Lisa, "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" which turns into a dynamite dance number. They also shine in the "Big Spender" number with the girls and in their duet, "Baby, Dream Your Dream" which starts out being a sarcastic look at Charity's relationships but eventually turns into a wistful ballad when the two girls realize they want the same thing Charity does. Kerissa and Helen do a topnotch job as these spitfire gals. The owner of the nightclub, Herman, is wonderfully played by Brian Lamothe. He displays his tenor voice in "I Love to Cry at Weddings". Another scene stealer is Michael Evora as Big Daddy whose church is called "The Rhythm of Life" and since it is the sixties, his religion is sex, drugs and rock and roll. Michael and the chorus do an excellent job with this show stopping number. The 15 member ensemble do wonderful work with their singing and dancing prowess in this show. It brings back memories for me having been in it back in 1978 as Man with dog, Man at elevator and Man at Fan Dango. So for a look back at this classic musical, be sure to catch "Sweet Charity" before she dances her way out of town.