BWW Review: SWEET CHARITY at The Village Players Of Birmingham is Fun, Laughs, and a Good Time!
One aspect that can be said about this production of Sweet Charity is that is a well-oiled machine and as an audience member you will enjoy yourself because each moment flows into the next of vivid colors and sounds. A perfect example of this the "Rich Man's Frug" number, which the cast performs together so well and really make you feel like you are transported back to a night club in that era. The entire cast works together making each scene come to life, whether it be something small with two people or a large-scale group number, never failing to emit a positive energy as they engage the audience on the journey that is whimsical, comedic, and even tragic in its own way.
Lori Smith plays the role of Charity Hope Valentine. Smith is exceptional in the role. She encompasses all of who Charity Hope Valentine should be - a dreamer; knocked down, yet fighting; wide-eyed at the world; and someone worth rooting for. She plays the role perfectly with a fantastic voice to back it up during her many numbers in the show and particularly in her solo of "Where Am I Going." Bravo at a wonderful performance!
Zak Shugart plays the role of Oscar Lindquest. He is endearing and sweet in his role and his chemistry with Smith is charming. Rachel Biber plays the role of Nicki and Liz Schultz plays the role of Helene and these two women are another pair of perfect chemistry. Biber and Schultz constantly has the audience laughing with their comedic hijinks and their song, "Baby Dream Your Dream," is a show stopper. A noteworthy mention needs to be included of Lauren Peters who plays the role of Suzanne. She may not have a large role in the show, but it has hard not to notice her as she has a presence on stage that makes her one to watch. Her dancing during "Rich Man's Frug" is outstanding, hitting every step so effortlessly.
The rest of cast (in alphabetical order): Celeste Branch (Hostess), Stephanie Butler (Ursula), Deb Dworkin (Frenchy/Daddy's Assistant), Eric Kent Franz (Ensemble), Coleen Genette (Hostess), Tess Hannah (Betsy), Mark Jewett (Daddy Brubeck), Nasir Khawaja (Ensemble), Caryn Leonard (Carmen/Daddy's Assistant), Kim Monterosso (Ensemble), Emily Polet-Monterosso (Elaine), Brian Stanczak-Tuscany (Ensemble), Chris Steinmayer (Vittorio Vidal), Jeff Weiner (Ensemble), Megan Welenc (Rosie), and Lynette Yeager (Ensemble). Directed by Marcus Laban.
Sweet Charity is a musical filled with lot of feelings and adventures in the life Charity Hope Valentine and The Village of Birmingham Players does and exceptional job of taking the audience on that journey. Laughter and cheers (and even some playful boo's!) happen throughout the performance by the engaged and entertained audience, so you have chance, spend a little time with Charity before the show is gone.
Sweet Charity is currently running through May 28 at The Village Players of Birmingham in Birmingham. For more information or tickets, visit www.birminghamvillageplayers.com.