Neil Simon wrote the book. The great Dorothy Fields wrote the lyrics, Cy Coleman wrote the music, and the entire musical is based on a Federico Fellini film.
So it’s no surprise that “Sweet Charity” is one of the unquestioned classics of American musical theater.
The story about Charity Hope Valentine, an irrepressible dancer-for-hire who just wants to be loved, is next up from the Players Centre for Performing Arts in Sarasota. It opens Thursday and runs through Jan. 29.
The show is packed with great songs, the most well-known of which are “Big Spender” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now.”
It was nominated for a bunch of Tony Awards when it first hit Broadway in 1966, though it won only for Bob Fosse’s choreography. The 1969 film with Shirley MacLaine was a hit, and Broadway revivals have fared as well or better, Tony-wise, and the 1986 revival with Debbie Allen did even better.
It’s based on Fellini’s film “Nights of Cabiria,” but it’s toned down a bit. Fellini’s heroine was a prostitute, but Charity is a what used to be called a “taxi dancer” in New York City. It’s not kid’s stuff, it’s just a little bit raunchy, but there’s nothing about it that most people would find offensive. (The Players’ press material calls it “a sweet show with a bite.”
Details: Jan. 12-29, Players Centre for Perfoming Arts, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Saditional 2 p.m. Matinee on Jan. 21. $25-$30l $12 students 24. 941-365-2494, theplayers.org.