[Synopsis]  [Photos]

Sweet Charity

3rd to 5th October 2002

The Stevenage Lytton Players performed Sweet Charity at Stevenage's Gordon Craig Theatre from Thursday 3rd October 2002, until Saturday 5th October 2002.

Director/Musical Director Mike Payne

Choreographer Madeline Stoller


‘Sweet Charity’ was based on the Italian film ‘Nights of Cabiria’ of 1957 which was written by Frederico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano.

For its transition to a Broadway musical, Neil Simon adapted the story of the prostitute with a heart of gold, Dorothy Fields wrote lyrics for Cy Coleman’s music and Bob Fosse directed and choreographed the show. The result was a smash hit, which ran for 608 performances in New York and 484 in London.

The original Charity was Gwen Verdon, who was Bob Fosse’s wife at the time, but when the show was made into a film Shirley MacLaine starred in the title role and Sammy Davis Jnr featured as Big Daddy. The film had some additional musical numbers, but they didn’t have the impact of the show’s original hits – Big Spender, Rhythm of Life and I’m a Brass Band.

For those of you who have seen the film and are thinking how bad it is, please be reassured that the musical is nothing like the film! The show is really a lot of fun, with lots of little cameos, and a much more cohesive story.


Charity Hope Valentine is a girl looking for love and the ‘happy ever after’, but she is a dance hall hostess at the Fandango Ballroom, New York, where all the men are looking for something else.

She hopes to persuade Charlie, her current boyfriend, to propose to her – but he treats her badly and runs out on her like all the others. Hostesses Nickie and Helene are sympathetic, but have heard it all many times before. Charity is so soft-hearted and gullible that she always thinks that next time will be different.

A chance encounter with Vittorio Vidal, the Italian movie star, gives Charity a glimpse of the sophisticated world of the rich and she decides to try to change her life. While making enquiries about evening classes, she meets Oscar – a nice, ordinary guy. He proposes to her. Somebody loves her, at last!

A farewell party at the Fandango Ballroom celebrates Charity’s forthcoming marriage to Oscar, but he has some problems coming to terms with her previous life-style …. Undaunted, Charity accepts what the ‘fickle finger of fate’ has to offer and lives hopefully ever after.

For a full synopsis click here.