Arts & Entertainment

Richland Light Opera takes on Broadway hit 'Sweet Charity'

Most people don't think of Neil Simon when it comes to musicals, yet Sweet Charity is a Tony Award-winning show that is based on the book written by Simon.

However, the Broadway show's music was written by composer Cy Coleman with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Bob Fosse directed and choreographed Sweet Charity when it made its Broadway debut in 1966 at the Palace Theatre.

The original cast featured Gwen Verdon in the starring role. When the musical made its London debut in 1967 it starred Juliet Prowse as Charity.

The Richland Light Opera will bring this lively production to the stage starting March 13 in the auditorium at Hanford High School in Richland.

And all those legendary songs, like Hey Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now, The Rhythm of Life and I'm A Brass Band will come to life right along with it.

Headlining the show are Heather Harvey as Charity, Jen Schuster as Nickie, Kelly Brown as Helene, with supporting roles manned by Adam Theissen, Kirk Fletcher, John Tuttle, Joe Buriak, Robbie Heegel, Scott Miller, Lauren Smith, Pam Mossbrucker, Melissa MacFarlan and pianoman Steve Haberman as the flamboyant pianist in the Fandango Dance Hall.

Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for reserved seats and $13 for senior citizens, students and groups of 30 or more. The show continues March 14, 20-21 with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 22.

Tickets are available at JD's Time Center, 105 W. Kennewick Ave.; the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet, 21 Aaron Drive in Richland; or at www.RLOC.org. Hanford High is at 450 Hanford St., off George Washington Way in Richland. For more information, call 943-1531.

Sweet Charity's dramatic portion of the show is directed by Jo Brodzinski with vocal direction handled by Justin Raffa, who is the artistic director for the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers. Larry Bunch will handle music direction, Marlie Buriak as choreographer and a technical staff composed of Mary Lou Gnoza, Eric Richman and Jan Goolsbey.

"It doesn't get any sweeter than this," Gnoza said of Sweet Charity.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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