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Metro State’s Sweet Charity was a sweet treat indeed

Metro State’s performers, crew, and musicians brought Sweet Charity to life.
Photo: John Mazzetta · The Sentry

A classy performance of a classic play

Metro State’s production of the Neil Simon classic Sweet Charity starred Emily Lujan as Charity Hope Valentine, a bouncy dance hall hostess in 1960s New York City. Joining her were Samantha Scott and Megan Schraeder, playing Charity’s dance hall friends, Nickie and Helene. John Holdren played Oscar Lindquist, Charity’s dorky love interest, and Justin Milner was Vittorio Vidal, a famous actor with whom Charity has a run-in. 

The cast was strong and dynamic, staying afloat in the complex dance numbers the musical requires. Scott stood out as Helene; her comedic timing and effortless New York accent proved pitch-perfect under the stage lights. Stealing the show, however, was Milner’s performance as Vittorio Vidal. He delivered an incredible and moving rendition of “Too Many Tomorrows,” which was easily the highlight of the show. 

Charity herself, Lujan, was able to hold her own in the role, which is far from an easy character. From demanding dance numbers to rangy songs, the leading lady stayed solid, all while maintaining consistency as the bubbly, spunky, and, at times, rather odd Charity. 

The musical numbers were diverse, ranging from sultry and sarcastic “Big Spender,” surreal and electric “The Rhythm of Life,” and wonderfully hopeful “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This.”

Another impressive aspect of the show took place behind the scenes. The technical elements of the performance were top notch. It is something that is so often overlooked when thinking about a musical, but it is crucial to the delivery. 

Sweet Charity’s crew proved themselves a talented group. The backdrop was minimal, providing the audience with the proper awareness that Charity is not the kind of girl to remain in one place for long.

The set pieces were another matter entirely, their design complex to make up for the lack of extensive backdrops.

The musical travels to various interesting places, including the apartment of a rich movie star, the interior of a classy night club, a broken-down elevator, and the top of the tallest ride at Coney Island. 

Each piece did an expert job of creating the atmosphere of the scene, accompanied by wonderful lighting and a fantastic live orchestra. 

As far as the story itself, Charity remains the same narrative force it was when it was first premiered in 1966. As Charity Valentine navigates the New York City experience, she longs only for the thing she is sure will erase all her troubles: love. 

It’s a sentiment that everyone can relate to, and Lujan made hearts burst with her cheery and bright rendition of “I’m A Brass Band.” 

Charity is a character who will remain timeless in her longing and wit, and every person in the audience was able to see a piece of themselves in her tenacity and resilience. 

The cast of Metro’s Sweet Charity did a stellar job of bringing Charity’s story to life. Equipped with a remarkable crew, an astounding band, and a strong grip on how to put on a show, Metro knocked it out of Central Park.

Metro’s next theatrical venture will be Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal. It will run from April 18 to 28.

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