The musical "Sweet Charity" is based on Federico Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria," which was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon.
The original Broadway show opened Jan. 29, 1966, at the Palace Theatre, and ran for 608 performances.
And now Carson Performing Arts, the troupe from Carson High School, brings this upbeat, clever production to the capital city Saturday and the following weekend.
Charity Hope Valentine (later to become Sweet Charity) works in an entertainment hall on Broadway as a taxi dancer in this high-school rewrite of things, which still catches the flavor of the original. She has some problems, like being pushed in a lake by a boyfriend, who also makes off with her purse. But she perseveres and after giving up all her money to beggars ends up broke and in the bedroom of Vittoro Vidal in all innocence.
That's where the Charity's hit song "If All My Friends Could See Me Now" comes in.
She becomes involved with Oscar in a jammed elevator, where true to form she cries out, "Oh, Oscar, you're gonna be all right."
And that's only Act 1.
It gets better as Rebecca Jolly as Charity lights up the stage. Jolly, a senior at Carson High, is a marvel, "on cue" at every moment, singing, dancing and acting with grace and beauty. As director Karen Chandler said of her, "She can do it all. I only have one like this every eight years or so."
This is not to detract from the fresh energy and élan that this big cast brings to "Sweet Charity."
The Dance hall girls are nicely costumed and add pep to dance routines. Dakota Dutcher is a solid Vittorio, and Phillip Wortman a correctly fidgety Oscar. And Lainey Henderson as the Good Fairy adds not only a witty end to the show, but also adds an uplifting morale.
Director Chandler said she likes this show much more than another similar one, "Grease," where the girl gives up her dreams and identity and fastens on to the downside of high school. "Some think 'Charity' is about prostitution, but it's not at all. Dance hall girls are dance hall girls and if you jump to conclusions you'll miss the point."
Helping director Chandler are vocal director Susan Sonnemaker; choreographer Gina Davis and a full orchestra under the direction of Felicia Wirgau (who also leads the CHS Jazz Orchestra).
A very nice touch which could easy be missed is the set decoration - versions of pop art works of the 1960s by such as Andy Warhol (currently on show at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno), Jackson Pollack, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and Victor Vasarely. The works speak of metaphors to the scenes where they are displayed.
This is not a one-woman show, but Jolly almost makes it so.
If you go
WHAT: Carson Performing Arts presentation of the musical "Sweet Charity"
WHERE: Bob Boldrick Theatre, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and March 30 and 31; 2 p.m. Sunday and April 1.
TICKETS: $8 CHS students, and children 12 and under; $9 for students and seniors, $10 general admission.