Marisa Tomei will play the title dreamer in a new revival of the musical Sweet Charity intended for Broadway. She replaced "Dharma and Greg" star Jenna Elfman, who was originally slated to headline the production, but recently backed out.
Produced Fran Weissler confirmed the casting to Playbill On-Line, adding that Tomei—who is a credited dramatic and comedic stage actress, but is not known for her singing and dancing—auditioned for composer Cy Coleman and the revival's choreographer.
In June, Barry and Fran Weissler confirmed that the show was aiming for a spring 2003 Broadway opening following some out-of-town dates. With Elfman's departure, that time frame may be in question. One thing seems for sure: Tomei will not be able to devote her energies to Charity until she has finished with the spring Off-Broadway run of David Lindsay-Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo, set to begin preivews at Manhattan Theatre Club Jan. 4, 2003.
Tomei's last Broadway credit was the short lived revival of the thriller Wait Until Dark. Off-Broadway work includes Waiting for Lefty, Slavs!, and Demonology. Tomei won the Academy Award for "My Cousin Vinnie." Her film career after that honor was erratic, but she has recently returned to form with praised performances in "The Slums of Beverly Hills," "What Women Want" and "In the Bedroom."
Sweet Charity was composed by Cy Coleman with lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon. The musical is based on the screenplay "Nights of Cabiria" by Federico Fellini. The most recent Broadway revival of Charity, about a good-hearted dance-hall hostess who attracts mainly bad luck, played the Minskoff Theatre in 1986-87 (directed and choreographed by the man who created the show, Bob Fosse; it would be one of his final directing jobs before his death). It starred Debbie Allen as Charity, Bebe Neuwirth as Nicky and Michael Rupert as Oscar. The 1966 original was conceived by Bob Fosse for wife Gwen Verdon, who played Charity. John McMartin played Oscar. The score includes "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Big Spender," "Baby, Dream Your Dream," "Where Am I Going?," "I'm a Brass Band," "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" and "Rhythm of Life." A film version starred Shirley MacLaine.