PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with Christina Applegate

Brief Encounter   PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with Christina Applegate Beginning Feb. 8, the blonde and pretty Christina Applegate will begin carrying a brand-new, Broadway-bound revival of the classic musical Sweet Charity on her slender shoulders.

Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The new production, directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Wayne Cilento, will have the luxury of three tryout stops (Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston) before hitting New York—something Applegate doesn't mind at all, given that this is her first musical. Her lack of stage experience notwithstanding, the former "Married...With Children" star claims she simply couldn't pass up the part of lovelorn romantic Charity Hope Valentine when it came along. Her interest in the property is such that before even auditioning she could quote every line. Applegate took a few minutes to talk to Playbill.com before hitting Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre to quote those lines nightly.

Playbill.com: What did you and Walter Bobbie talk about regarding the creation of your performance of Charity?
Christina Applegate: Well, we're still talking about the evolution of who she is right now in this incarnation. But we all know what her intention is, what the motivation of her life is. After that, it all falls into place. My approach to it is: I can relate to who she is and what she wants and where her pain sits; how hopeful she is, and how trusting she is and how she wants everything to be good. And sometimes it's not. All of those qualities are so relatable to me that I'm like a raw nerve when working on this. She just breaks my heart.

Playbill.com: One song in this show is an open question for Charity: "Where Am I Going?" Does this production answer that?
CA: In this day and age, right now the way the world is, you don't want to leave a story with that empty feeling in your stomach. We're giving some hope to the audience that Charity is going to be OK. She's realized that it's not going to be a man that saves her from her dark place. It's her, it's her own awakening, it's her own standing in her own shoes. She doesn't want saving and she's excited about that. What we've added to the end of the show is all blessed by Neil Simon.

Playbill.com: What did the late Cy Coleman tell you about Sweet Charity?
CA: Well, my only experience with Cy was the audition process, which was all about Cy yelling at me about my voice for three hours. And then him turning around and giving me the job. We didn't get to talk about who she was. At that point, they were testing to see if I'd have the stamina and strength.

Playbill.com: Speaking of stamina and strength, this is going to be a huge endeavor. Three out of town tryouts. Are you ready?
CA: I don't know if you can be ready for something that you don't even know what it is. That's kind of how this has all been for me. Before I came here, the day before I left for New York, I had a pit in my stomach of "I am not prepared for this. I am not ready and I can not do this." I got here and I stood in that room with those dancers, and I was ready. I was ready for what I needed to be ready for. I don't know what it's going to be like, but I'm sure when I get there, I'll be ready. Playbill.com: Why a big musical comedy revival at this point in your career?
CA: Because it's Sweet Charity. I had no intention of coming here at this time in my life. At some point I wanted to do it. It's been a bug in my ear. But when they called and said they're auditioning for Sweet Charity again, I fell off my couch. I had to go. I grew up obsessed with Bob Fosse. I didn't get to see any of his productions, but I saw the movie and I could tell you every line.

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