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Review Roundup: SWEET CHARITY Starring Sutton Foster Opens Off-Broadway — All the Reviews!

The New Group's SWEET CHARITY opened tonight at the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, and has been extended again through January 8, and BroadwayWorld has all the reviews!

SWEET CHARITY features Yesenia Ayala, Darius Barnes, JAmes Brown III, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Shuler Hensley, Sasha Hutchings, Donald Jones, Jr., Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Emily Padgett, Joel Perez, Cody Williams, and as Charity Hope Valentine, two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster.

This production of the classic musical Sweet Charity (Book by Neil Simon; Music by Cy Coleman; Lyrics by Dorothy Fields), stars two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster("Younger," Violet, Anything Goes) as Charity Hope Valentine, the sassy, diehard romantic dancehall hostess whose naivety and overeager embrace of every man she meets keeps getting her in hot water. Performed in an intimate setting with original choreography by Joshua Bergasse (On the Town), this production of Sweet Charity will be given a fresh, modern perspective by director Leigh Silverman (Violet, Well).

Photo Credit: Monica Carboni

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Ben Brantley, New York Times: In keeping with the dominant mood of New York City these days, the dance hall hostess known as Charity Hope Valentine has finally shed her middle name. As compellingly portrayed by Sutton Foster, in an archetype-shattering performance, the title character of the 1966 musical "Sweet Charity" has never before seemed so hopeless.

Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: If your heart doesn't break a little for Charity Hope Valentine, you might consider a transplant. As embodied in (another) career-making performance by Sutton Foster, this taxi dancer who dreams of manly rescue holds on to her wide-eyed optimism no matter how many brutish Joes kick her back to reality. There's more than a glimmer of Giulietta Masina in Foster's indomitable aspect, a reminder of the down-but-not-out title character of Federico Fellini's Nights Of Cabiria.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: The challenge for any revival of the show is finding a headliner who has the necessary song-and-dance skills and can channel the bruised vulnerability as well as the enduring innocence and eternal optimism of Charity Hope Valentine, the New York City dancehall hostess for whom love is a religion that yields few blessings. This stripped-down production from off-Broadway's New Group meets the requirements, and then some, in one of our most gifted musical theater stars, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster.

Jesse Green, Vulture: That still leaves plenty to savor now. Silverman's work with Foster is - as it was in Violet - extraordinary. Together, they get the most out of the complicated comedy of scenes like the one in which Charity, once provisioned with a sandwich and beer, gladly hides in a closet while the Italian movie star makes love to his girlfriend. Likewise Oscar's claustrophobia is both funny and, in Hensley's dead-on panic, upsetting. Even the final betrayal, usually a botch, makes (for the first time?) perfect sense. If we get these insights at some cost, well, there's always a cost in Sweet Charity. Like its title character, it's only halfway evolved. That's as good a way to see it in 2016 as we could hope.

Adam Feldman, TimeOut: Yet there's much to enjoy in this Sweet Charity, starting with the musical itself. The songs are top-notch; Neil Simon's book still earns laughs. And Foster's will-to-spunkiness is a terrific match for Charity: She sings and dances with endearing gusto, and has boffo comic moments. (She makes a meal out of making a sandwich.) But if this revival has a future, it should fill out to meet its ambitions. Foster is giving a big performance, and she deserves a production mounted to scale.

Robert Kahn, NBC New York: Sutton Foster-with her innocent smile and bewildered eyes-may well have been born to play Charity Hope Valentine, the naive dance hall hostess of "Sweet Charity," the Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields musical with a seriocomic book by Neil Simon. Is there an actress more adept at toggling between hopefulness and heartbreak with just the bat of an eyelash?

Robert Hofler, The Wrap: If Lucille Ball could sing. If Lucille Ball could dance. If Lucille Ball could get raunchy in something other than a vat of grapes. That's a lot of ifs, but Sutton Foster checks every one of the boxes in the funny, and often very poignant, new revival of "Sweet Charity," which opened Sunday at Off-Broadway's Pershing Square Signature Center.

Max McGuinness, Financial Times: For the first hour director Leigh Silverman and her cast breathe new life into Neil Simon's book about a happy-go-unlucky taxi dancer's romantic misadventures in 1960s New York. Since her story now risks seeming twee, this staging cultivates a rich sense of its own ridiculousness throughout the first act, aided by Derek McLane's stripped-down yet stylised set, Clint Ramos's exaggerated take on the decade's Bibaesque fashions and some deliberately bad wigs. Lighting up that ersatz swingathon is Sutton Foster, who invests the titular Charity with irresistible goofy charm and displays comic talents reminiscent of Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe.

Melissa Rose Bernado, EW: Or maybe Foster is so wonderfully winning that [the wig] simply doesn't matter. (The same line of thinking might also apply to her dress, a lilac sack-like shift that must have been chosen for its quick-drying properties - handy since her character "falls" into a lake not once but twice.) As the perpetually hopeful Charity Hope Valentine, the dance-hall hostess with a habit of looking for love in all the wrong places, Foster illuminates the New Group's no-frills revival like, as Charity sings, "a hundred watt e-lec-a-tric light."

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