Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hey Big Spender

Went to see Christina Applegate tonight starring in "Sweet Charity." I was pleasantly impressed by the show.

I thought Applegate sucked the air out of the room at Radio City Music Hall during the "Sweet Charity" number at the Tonys earlier this year. And it's a big room with a lot of air!

But in the context of this show she does a really good job. As does Tony-winner Denis O'Hare as the nervous accountant trapped in an elevator with Charity Hope Valentine.

The book by Neil Simon and music by Cy Coleman are classic -- but I was especially impressed by the choreography by Wayne Cilento and the costumes by the always dependable William Ivey Long.

But mostly I sat there in shock thinking that my high school, Palisades High School, did a production of the show in 1978. My mother did the make-up and I helped backstage. I don't think I really got the plot when I was 15 years old -- afterall, the story is about a dance hall hostess hoping to escape "The Life."

I can't believe our Drama Teacher got away with doing this show with high school kids. But I do remember, after seeing the first performance in our school's Multi-Purpose Auditorium, telling my step-father that I was certain that our school's production was on par with any production of the show you'd see on Broadway. Well now that I've seen it on Broadway I'll admit that perhaps I was wrong.

Seeing it tonight, 27 years later, I didn't really remember much about the story. But watching it I suddenly remembered the black pit in my stomach left by the story's dark ending. Aren't musicals supposed to have happy endings? I guess we can't have little girls going to the theater left with the impression they can grow up to be dance hall hostesses and be happy.
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