John Carroll University’s performances of “Sweet Charity” over the past two weeks came to a close on Sunday, April 17 in the Kulas Auditorium. The show provided audience members with vibrant entertainment and gave audiences a captivating theater experience.
With a push into the lake, Charity Hope Valentine’s future began. In the beginning of this musical production, Charity is in love with a man who only acknowledges her for her career choice at the Fandango Ballroom, a dance hall in 1960’s New York City.
Trying to make it in the world, Charity, portrayed by senior Jackie DiFrangia, is a dance hall hostess who is looking for love. Her two best friends, Nicki and Helene, tear Charity apart for wanting more out of life than being a dance hall hostess.
Sophomores Shae Maresco and Elizabeth Evankovich portray Nicki and Helene as diva-licious hostesses, who deep down don’t want their friend Charity to leave the ballroom for good.
As the show progressed, DiFrangia displays Charity falling in love with a shy man, Oscar, who she meets when they get stuck in an elevator together.
Oscar, portrayed by sophomore Dylan Reagan, was a man of few words. He ran into Charity by a sudden disaster. As Oscar enters a panic attack, Charity calms him down, starting their relationship on a good note.
Charity and Oscar move up in their relationship status. During their dating process, Nicki and Helene doubt that Charity will stay with this man very long. They truly believe that she is in love with another clueless man who will leave her the second he finds out she is a dance hall hostess.
Towards the end of the show, Charity and Oscar decide to get married, and this is when Charity truly believes that she won’t be stuck in the Fandango Ballroom for very much longer. As she comes closer and closer to her dream of being in love, there always seems to be something that holds her back from truly reaching it: her profession.
As Oscar is introduced to what Charity does for a living, he tries his best to look past it, but at one point, he is torn apart when he realizes his soon-to-be wife might actually be more than a ballroom hostess.
He takes Charity to the lake she fell in at the beginning of the show and tells her of his negative feelings toward her job. Charity is devastated and tries to grab onto whatever she can before she loses her relationship entirely. As Oscar pushes Charity into the lake, Charity truly realizes that her life will change for the better.
As she crawls out of the lake, Charity believes she will meet another man that can make her life feel complete once again, giving her the fulfilling life she always dreamed of.
“Sweet Charity” allowed JCU cast members to alternate leading roles for certain nights, creating a different show and experience every other night, under the guidance of the director Keith Nagy.
The main roles of Oscar and Charity were double-casted. When the role of Charity wasn’t played by DiFrangia, sophomore Alexandra Montesano portrayed her while freshman Keegan Kennedy took over as Oscar.
The environment of the show was welcoming and exciting, creating a sense of thrill and fun. The actors and actresses went in depth with their characters, expressing vivid emotion and creating a show to remember.
Each cast member was comfortable with who they were working with and the cast as a whole had good chemistry.
The relationships formed on and off stage could easily be seen when it came to body language as well as ensuring that each cast member did not fall through when it came to portraying their roles.
The show truly tugged at the heartstrings. With a simple storyline, the audience could easily fall in love with the characters and Charity’s future.
The actors and actresses led the audience down a path of reality, displaying how the world can throw things at you that might be unexpected.
The story keeps the audience grounded and the sense of reality is shown through struggle, emotion and hope, all expressed through the characters and their storylines.