‘Sweet Charity’

March 20, 2008

by Sarah Deason

It is not every year that the departments in the School of Performing Arts come together to produce a musical.

April 23 through April 26, the theater, dance and music departments will showcase their combined talents at Howard Auditorium in Sweet Charity, a Broadway musical based on a book by Neil Simon.

The story revolves around Charity Hope Valentine, a taxi dancer at the Fandango Ballroom in the sixties.

Paul Crook, assistant professor of theater and director of Sweet Charity, said, “Charity is the beat dreamer – always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, but never realizing that it’s really a train.”

The musical serves as a social commentary, he said.

“The arts are our cultural and societal barometer,” Crook said.
“[Sweet Charity] was written in 1965, before hippies. It’s not psychedelic, but more pop art.”

He said Sweet Charity has some of the best musical numbers in American musical theatre like “Big Spender” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now.”

“One thing I like about directing musicals is the opportunity for collaboration. There is no greater opportunity for collaboration than a musical,” Crook said.

“I like working with people who have talents that I don’t have, like choreographers and conductors.”

Toni Brown, a senior music major playing Charity’s best friend Nickie, agrees that a musical is a great opportunity for theater, dance and music to collaborate.

She said, “It’s a huge opportunity to use our abilities to combine all departments.”

Anastasia Trammel, a freshman theater major playing Charity, also thinks the musical is good for Tech.

“We only have a musical every so often, so everyone jumped at it. Everyone understood how big it really is,” she said.
“The musical allows us to use everything Howard Auditorium has to offer.”

Trammel not only thinks the musical is valuable for Tech, she thinks it lends to the culture of Ruston.

“There’s not that much to do in Ruston. The musical is a great date night: dinner and a show,” she said.
“It allows people who enjoy plays and theater to come out.”

Trammel hopes the seven weeks of rehearsal will pay off.

“We enjoy audiences enjoying the show,” she said.
“If the audience is happy, we’ll be happy.”