By Kenneth Jones
and Robert Simonson
14 Mar 2005
The second of three out-of-town engagements ended March 13 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in the Windy City, with understudy Dylis Croman stepping in March 11-13. The show ships to Boston and will have Tony Award nominee Charlotte d'Amboise in the title role March 18-27, at the Colonial Theatre.
"Miss Applegate's doctors are optimistic that she will be able to return to the show in time for the first preview performance at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4," according to a spokesman for the producers, Barry and Fran Weissler and Clear Channel Entertainment.
Applegate sustained her injury at the beginning of the show March 11 and continued to play for approximately 20 minutes before being unable to continue, the producers confirmed. The show was stopped while Applegate's understudy, Dylis Croman, prepared to go on and finish the performance.
The busy d'Amboise, a gifted dancer and comedienne lauded for her quirky work as Roxie Hart in the national touring and Broadway companies of Chicago, appeared in Broadway's Chicago March 11 and then flew to the Windy City over the weekend. Barry and Fran Weissler are producers of both Chicago and Sweet Charity (both shows are directed by Walter Bobbie).
Producer Barry Weissler said in a statement, "The entire Charity family wishes Christina a speedy recovery and looks forward to welcoming her back to the company when the show begins performances on Broadway."
Playing Roxie, d'Amboise earned rave New York reviews and the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, L.A. Ovation Award and Bay Area Theatre Circle Award for the national tour. Her credits include the Encores! production of Can-Can and Broadway's Contact, Lola in Damn Yankees (Fred Astaire Award), Jerome Robbins' Broadway (Tony nomination), Company, Carrie, Song & Dance and Cats.
Boston will be the third and last pre-Broadway tryout town for the Walter Bobbie-directed musical. The show spent Feb. 8-20 in Minneapolis, and then moved on to Chicago on Feb. 24. The dates for Boston's Colonial Theatre are March 18-27, giving the company a few days to rehearse before d'Amboise plays. Changes and refinesments are ongoing.
Applegate, the star of TV's "Married...with Children" and Hollywood's "Anchorman," is a major part of the show's marketing: Her wide-eyed likeness appears on the marquee of the Hirschfeld, and in print ads.
Chicago reviews of the show matched those received in the Twin Cities in their qualified praise of Applegate and the staging.
Sweet Charity is a quirky, romantic, urban musical comedy about a dance hall hostess with a heart of gold. It includes such songs as "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.
Applegate (and now d'Amboise) will share the stage with the Oscar Linquist of Denis O'Hare, the Big Daddy of Rhett George and the Herman of Ernie Sabella.
The creative team for Sweet Charity comprises 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).