Queen Christina: Foot Mended, Applegate Opens in Sweet Charity May 4

News   Queen Christina: Foot Mended, Applegate Opens in Sweet Charity May 4 Shaking off the biggest backstage saga of the Broadway season (broken foot, d'Amboise in, show off, show on, etc.), Rialto neophyte Christina Applegate will on May 4 achieve her dream of opening the new revival of the Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields-Neil Simon musical Sweet Charity.

Christina Applegate and Denis O'Hare in Sweet Charity
Christina Applegate and Denis O'Hare in Sweet Charity Photo by Paul Kolnick

Applegate gave her first New York performance in Sweet Charity—and her first turn in the show since breaking a foot in Chicago a month and a half ago—at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 18.

After her final bow at that performance, co-star Denis O'Hare, who plays Oscar, presented Applegate with flowers and said to the audience, "[Christina] has become a member of the Broadway community, and she did that through an incredible amount of determination and grit. We have never, any of us, seen anybody earn their stripes like this girl has."

If theatre experience is measured in military decorations, as O'Hare suggested, then Applegate may well at this point be a Lieutenant Colonel. Her journey to Broadway thus far has included—but is not necessarily limited to: A move from Los Angeles to New York to take the job—her first big stage role; two rigorous out-of-town tryouts in Minneapolis and Chicago, during the winter months, no less; a month of healing and physical therapy after she busted a ped swinging on a lamppost during the Chicago run; learning with horror, at the close of the subsequent Boston run, that producer Barry Weissler had decided to shut down the show before it reached Broadway; a weekend of cajoling Weissler into reviving the revival (and, if you believe some reports, finding some of the additional money needed to achieve that resurrection); and, last but not least, weathering the unwavering attentions of New York Post columnist Michael Riedel, theatredom's most notorious newshound.

Fittingly, Sweet Charity is the last official opening of the 2005-06 Broadway season. (From a news standpoint, it would be hard for any show to follow its act.)

Applegate's other co-stars include the Helen and Nickie of Kyra DaCosta and Janine LaManna, and Ernie Sabella as Herman. The creative team for Sweet Charity comprises Walter Bobbie (director), Wayne Cilento (choreographer), Scott Pask (set designer), William Ivey Long (costume design), Brian MacDevitt (lighting designer), Peter Hylenski (sound designer), Gordon Lowry Harrell (music director) and Don Sebesky (orchestrator).

Prior to Weissler's March 25 pronouncement that Charity was to close out of town, the show was scheduled to begin previews April 4 and officially open on April 21.

Charlotte d'Amboise is standby for Applegate, and performed as Charity during the entire run in Boston, as well as the first week of previews in New York.

Also joining the cast in Boston were Kyra DaCosta and Janine LaManna as Helen and Nickie. The two thespians were brought in to replace Solange Sandy and Natascia Diaz, respectively, shortly after the Chicago run wrapped up. They play Charity's best pals.

DRG Records will preserve the score of Broadway's new Sweet Charity on a cast album May 9, president Hugh Fordin told Playbill.com. The disc will be released in stores June 24.

Fans of the score can almost surely expect the disc won't sound like any other recording of the 1966 songs. Director Walter Bobbie and company have been working on changes in the Simon script and Coleman-Fields score, with some songs cut, others added. The score's standouts are "Where Am I Going?," "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Big Spender" and "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This."

The company in a scene from <i>Sweet Charity</i>
The company in a scene from Sweet Charity Photo by Paul Kolnick