“Sweet Charity” brings iconic song and dance numbers to Cortland 

“Sweet Charity” brings iconic song and dance numbers to Cortland 

04/02/2024 

Everyone could use a little charity from time to time. Thankfully, SUNY Cortland has it covered with two weeks’ worth of the classic Tony-winning musical “Sweet Charity” at the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre. 

The comedy, put on by the Performing Arts Department, follows dance hall hostess Charity as she looks for love in 1960s New York City. 

Her search is set to the tune of standards like “Hey, Big Spender,” “Rhythm of Life” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” Original choreography was done by the late Broadway legend Bob Fosse. 

Tickets for the show are on sale at Cortland’s Box Office website. Performances will take place over two weekends. 

Friday, April 5 – 7:30 p.m. 

Saturday, April 6 – 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday, April 7 – 2 p.m. 

April 12 – 7:30 p.m. 

April 13 – 7:30 p.m. 

April 14 – 2 p.m. 

Sweet-Charity-2.jpg
Senior Tatiana Padro in "Sweet Charity."

Guest director for the show is David Lowenstein, a professor of practice, musical theater, in Syracuse University’s Department of Drama., Lowenstein has extensive professional experience on and off Broadway — including being choreographer and co-creator ofShout! — The Mod Musical.” He describes “Sweet Charity” as a snapshot of the style and attitude of the city at the time the show was released. 

“It’s a great score,” said Lowenstein. “The songs are fantastic, and it has those iconic dance numbers from Fosse.” 

He said Cortland’s production keeps that charm while updating sets and lighting to maintain the modern feel the show’s creators intended.  

The challenges of the production create a special opportunity for the performers, Lowenstein added. 

“This show offers the actor playing the lead the kind of experience of really carrying a show,” he said. “Tatiana (senior Tatiana Padro), who plays the lead, is doing an incredible job. ... And a show that is so iconically dance-centric is really a great experience for the company.” 

Padro, who said audiences can expect twists and plenty of great comedy, has relished getting the chance to play Charity. 

“I love how positive and uplifting she is, she is truthfully so hopeful and always looks on the bright side of things,” Padro said. “She also doesn’t let her friends interfere with what she thinks, once she has her mind set on something she is going to do it. I think that’s why I resonate so much with her — she always does what she says she is going to do.” 

“Sweet Charity” is a unique opportunity for another reason, according to Padro. 

I’ve never been a part of a production where the whole story revolves around a woman, typically it’s always a man lead, so this show is truly special.” 

“Sweet Charity” was written by Neil Simon, whose other scripts include “The Odd Couple” and “The Out-of-Towners”, with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. It was directed and choreographed for Broadway by Fosse, who went on to direct and choreograph a film version, Sweet Charity: The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted to Be Loved, released in 1969 starring Shirley MacLaine. 

In 1966, it received Tony nominations that included Best Musical and won for Best Choreography. In 1986, it won another Tony Award for Best Revival. 

Now, Lowenstein said, the Cortland audience can expect to see the best of what’s made “Sweet Charity” a perennial favorite. 

“it’s great to work with these fantastic students and the professional design team that is in residence.”


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