Ernie Sabella to Play Herman in New Revival of Sweet Charity

News   Ernie Sabella to Play Herman in New Revival of Sweet Charity Ernie Sabella, Broadway veteran of such musical revivals as Guys and Dolls and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, will play Herman in the 2005 revival of the musical Sweet Charity, Playbill On-Line has learned.

Ernie Sabella
Ernie Sabella

Also cast is Rhett George (Aida, Wicked) as hep cat evangelist Big Daddy. Both characters get to sing one big song. Herman, proprietor of the dance hall Charity works in, belts outs the 11-o'clock number "I Love to Cry at Weddings." The cameo part of Big Daddy, meanwhile, owns the show stopper, "Rhythm of Life." (Sammy Davis Jr. played it in the film version.)

As previously reported, Tony Award-winner Denis O'Hare will play the repressed Oscar Linquist, who falls for the vivacious taxi dancer, Charity, played by Christina Applegate. O'Hare won a Tony Award for Take Me Out and was nominated for Assassins.

The role of Oscar is being beefed up in the revised revival, composer Cy Coleman told Playbill On-Line before his recent death. Oscar is expected to have a fresh song in the show, pulled from the trunk of songs penned by Coleman and the late lyricist Dorothy Fields.

In the 1966 original, inspired by the Fellini movie "Nights of Cabiria," Oscar meets Charity in a stalled elevator, where he has a panic attack. He becomes the first real prospect for true love that she's had in many years.

John McMartin originated the role and played it in the 1969 film. In past productions, Oscar has sung the title song, which has lyrics by Fields. The title song heard in the film and 1987 revival had a different melody than what was heard in the 1966 original. Playbill On-Line has learned the original tune will be employed this time around; Coleman fans know the melody was also used for a song called "You Wanna Bet," recorded by Barbra Streisand.

In the title number, Oscar is a self-professed "man with no dream and no plan" until he finds "sweet Charity."

The new Walter Bobbie-directed revival, which has begun rehearsals toward out of town engagements in Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston leading to an April 21, 2005 opening on Broadway. Wayne Cilento choreographs.

Barry and Fran Weissler are producing with Clear Channel Entertainment.

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Sweet Charity is a quirky, romantic, urban musical comedy about a dance hall hostess with a heart of gold. It includes such songs like "Big Spender," "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Where Am I Going?" and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This." The Neil Simon-Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields show from 1966 was a triumph for creator-director-choreographer Bob Fosse and actress Gwen Verdon. The 1969 film starred Shirley MacLaine as the innocent Charity. The 1986 Broadway revival (overseen by Fosse, who died shortly after) starred Debbie Allen, and toured with Donna McKechnie.

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