1986 Broadway Cast / Debbie Allen

Sweet Charity [1986 Broadway Revival Cast]

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Twenty years after the original production, Sweet Charity returned to Broadway in the spring of 1986, again directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. This time, Debbie Allen instead of Gwen Verdon starred as the hapless but hopeful dancehall dancer Charity Hope Valentine, and despite her dancing ability, she was not able to put her stamp on the role as Verdon had, a serious failing in a work that was essentially a star vehicle. Still, the show was sufficiently well staged to earn the Tony Award for best musical revival, along with three other awards (not including one for Allen, who was nominated but lost), and it went on to run a respectable 368 performances. On disc, Allen's shortcomings are less noticeable than the musical revisions to the score enacted by composer and album co-producer Cy Coleman. Working with a small army of new orchestrators to update Ralph Burns' 1966 charts, Coleman attempts to inject a 1980s sound into his music, so that, for example, "Where Am I Going?" now boasts a plucked electric bass with a distinctly funk-like feel. But that's the least of it. "I'm the Bravest Individual" (described as "reworked" by annotator Martin Godfried) is so different that, in essence, Coleman has really just composed new music for it, while "The Rhythm of Life" (another "reworked" number) also sounds like a brand-new song; several, in fact. Meanwhile, "Charity's Soliloquy," a musical account of one of the main character's ill-fated romances, has been dropped, and the song "Sweet Charity" is the one Coleman wrote for the 1969 movie version, not the one featured in the 1966 stage production. Even so, it sounds like a 1980s adult contemporary ballad. These alterations do not improve the score, and the original Broadway cast album remains the one to own. [The 2005 CD reissue on DRG Records adds as bonus tracks two recordings by Coleman, playing piano and accompanied by an orchestra and chorus, of "The Rhythm of Life" and "Big Spender," in an easy listening style. These recordings appeared on Capitol Records single 5617 in 1966, not in 1962, as the DRG album mistakenly states.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sweet Charity, musical
1 3:06
2 2:21
3 4:10
4 3:48
5 2:51
6 2:52
7 5:04
8 1:46
9 3:09
10 3:36
11 2:22
12 2:27
13 3:14
14 3:37
15 0:54
16 0:52
17
feat: Cy Coleman
2:40
18
feat: Cy Coleman
2:26
blue highlight denotes track pick