Staging Sweet Charity: “Big Spender” – sans bar

So, one last postscript to my journey staging “Sweet Charity” this summer…

Two days after the show opened, for some inexplicable reason, the ladies of the Fandango Ballroom – after oozing their sexy selves backwards downstage at the start of the iconic “Big Spender” number – turned to face the audience for their introductory lines and found no bar on which to pose. Nothing. For reasons unknown, the bar did not come out onstage.

So the ladies, on the fly (so to speak), had to improvise the poses on the bar. Many of those poses required a bar on which to pose.

Word came back to me about the mishap AND that the ladies did a terrific job of getting through the number.

However, the men of the ensemble decided to have some fun reenacting the event – with a few modifications you might guess.

The beginning of the video is funniest just in how each “dancer” turns to find no bar, and how it affected what pose they would take…

You might have to know SWEET CHARITY well to get this, but I think you will all get the gist.

Thanks men for the laugh.

Production pics from SWEET CHARITY at Lyric Theater

A few pics posted on the Facebook page of Lyric Theater for my production of SWEET CHARITY, plus snapshots from the opening night party (not such great quality, but here for the perusing…)

Ladies of the Fandango Ballroom in “Big Spender”

Milena Govich as “Charity” and Jamison Stern as “Oscar”

The company dancing “Rich Man’s Frug”
Billy Porter, me and Joel Ingram at SWEET CHARITY opening night party

Michael and I with my associate choreographer & “Nickie” Kathryn Murphy

Me with our “Charity” – Milena Govich

A different version of “Big Spender”

Working on SWEET CHARITY, including the iconic “Big Spender” number with a great cast of ladies, here in Oklahoma City. But with the show staged now, I was remembering of another version of the song thanks to the men of Chippendales at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Nice to see things from different perspectives sometimes 🙂


Staging Sweet Charity – “The Rhythm of Life”

I saw this movie back when I was a kid and thought Sammy Davis Jr, was super cool. And the dancing stoned hippies are uber-groovy.

In this production at Lyric Theater we have a new millenium version of Sammy, Billy Porter (starring in the new Broadway musical Kinky Boots this fall) playing the part of “Daddy Brubeck.”

Fun day ahead.

Staging Sweet Charity: “I’m A Brass Band”

Staging “I’m A Brass Band” for SWEET CHARITY today.

Love the number. It’s Charity and the boys, lots of great, fun syncopation.

Our “Charity” – Milena Govich – is a strong dancer and likes the big, “boy choreography” steps. She’s great. As are the men of the ensemble.

Looking forward to this one.

Staging Sweet Charity – “Hey Big Spender”

As the adventure continues with staging SWEET CHARITY in Oklahoma City, today I spent time alone mapping out the mammoth “Rich Man’s Frug” by myself so I”ll be ready for it Friday with the company.

And I staged the iconic “Hey Big Spender” (video above from the Broadway production of FOSSE) with the ladies of the company. Got it done in two hours. They really rocked and rolled with it. Plus I have the fab Kathryn Murphy assisting (and playing the role of “Nickie”) who appeared on Broadway in FOSSE doing “Hey Big Spender.” So she was an invaluable help.

Tomorrow is “I’m A Brass Band” – yet another big number, this one featuring Charity and the men of the ensemble. I get three hours to stage that. While I’m doing that Ms. Murphy will spend time going over “Big Spender” with the ladies.

In the afternoon tomorrow, I start with some preliminary “Frug” material with a few people to knock out some bits before Friday.

Having a great time and the company is terrific. Having to move through the material very quickly though, and I’m someone who loves to explore and finesse and “play with” the numbers and there’s not much time for that. They have a phrase here – “tick tock summer stock” – meaning “the clock is ticking, we gotta move on.”

More later… 🙂

Sweet Charity rehearsals – first day

First day of rehearsals for SWEET CHARITY in Oklahoma City for Lyric Theatre.

First number up for staging was “Something Better Than This” with Charity and her two sidekicks Nickie and Helene. This is my partner in crime Kathryn Murphy who is playing “Nickie” – we’ve worked together several times and she saves me in the rehearsal studio in many, many ways. She’s my associate choreographer here and already helping in huge ways.

Staging “Something Better Than This” requires a very latin flair, which in turn HAS to have some “skirt-ography.” So, of course, I requested a rehearsal skirt too. After a few minutes though the ladies couldn’t see my foot work so off the skirt went.

Got the number done and the ladies look great already! Whoo-hoo!

Here’s a clip from the movie starring Shirley Maclaine, Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly doing “Something Better Than This.”