Original Soundtrack

Sweet Charity [Original Broadway Cast #1]

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Director Bob Fosse and his wife, star Gwen Verdon, based this musical on Federico Fellini's film Nights of Cabiria, about a sweet-hearted Italian prostitute, changing the character to an American taxi dancer. Composer Cy Coleman, with whom Fosse had worked on Little Me, was brought in and paired with veteran lyricist Dorothy Fields, with whom Fosse and Verdon had worked on Redhead. The result was Fields' longest running show in her lifetime and Coleman's biggest hit so far, a show that played 608 performances starting on January 29, 1966. The biggest initial hit from the score was "Where Am I Going?," which was recorded by Barbra Streisand, though Peggy Lee hit the easy listening charts with "Big Spender," Tony Bennett with "Baby, Dream Your Dream," and Sylvia Syms with "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This." But the best-known song to come out of the show was the bravura "If My Friends Could See Me Now." Coleman's music was unusually contemporary for Broadway, full of pop and jazz elements, and Fields' lyrics were also surprisingly timely. Verdon's ingenuous performance was the show's standout, and she dominated the cast album. [The 1999 reissue added an extended version of "Rich Man's Frug"; an alternate take of "I Love to Cry at Weddings"; performances of "You Wanna Bet," "Where Am I Going?," and "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from a 1966 Cy Coleman album; and opening-night-party interviews with Verdon, cast member Helen Gallagher, book writer Neil Simon, and (though she had no connection with the show) Ethel Merman.]

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