Walter Bobbie in Talks to Return as Director of Broadway-Bound Charity

News   Walter Bobbie in Talks to Return as Director of Broadway-Bound Charity Sweet Charity's twisting road to Broadway has taken another turn. The Broadway-bound revival may re-recruit Walter Bobbie as director.

Walter Bobbie.
Walter Bobbie.

"We're in talks for Walter's return to the show," said a representative for the director. "Let's say we're starting where we left off."

Bobbie was initially named as the Fran and Barry Weissler and Clear Channel production's helmsman, but left the project in early 2003. At the time, the reason given for Bobbie's exit was that the director and the Weisslers could not concur on the makeup of the show's creative team. The parting was described as amicable. Bobbie was eventually replace by English director Timothy Sheader, who helmed a June-July workshop of the musical.

A spokesman for the show could not confirm Bobbie's involvement.

Bobbie's reentry would be the most recent change in a show that has had a history of personnel shifts. Television actress Jenna Elfman was first selected to play the title role of a good-hearted dance hall hostess. She dropped out in September 2002. Supplanting her was Marisa Tomei, who stayed with the venture even after the switch in director. Halfway through last summer's workshop, however, Tomei's place was taken by Nine Tony-winner Jane Krakowski. Also featured in the workshop were Denis O'Hare as Oscar and Mark Dendy as choreographer.

At this point, it is not certain which actress would star in the musical, though Tomei may be back in the picture. If Bobbie returns, the creative team would likely change. Walter Bobbie directed the hit Broadway revival of Chicago for the Weisslers.

The show was originally aiming for a spring 2003 Broadway bow, following out-of-town tryouts. That was later changed to a fall 2003 arrival, and still later, January 2004.

The show is a quirky, romantic, urban musical comedy about a dance hall hostess with a heart of gold. It includes such songs like "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. A film starred Shirley MacLaine as the innocent Charity, who lives hopefully ever after that she'll find a mate. A 1986 Broadway revival (overseen by Fosse, who died shortly after) starred Debbie Allen. There was talk in recent seasons that Paula Abdul was attached to a tour of the show (it never materialized).