Have you ever known a girl who wanted something so badly, that she tried too hard to get it? Meet Charity, the girl who wants to be loved so much, that she has lost sight of who she is.
Charity sings, dances, laughs and cries her way through romances with the "animal magnetism" hero, the "ultra-chic continental" hero, and the "impossible-to believe-but-he's-better than nothing" type hero. Her world is the all too real world of Times Square, and the people who pass through her world are as deceptively charming a group as ever swept across any stage. From her cynical, hard-core trio of girlfriends at the dance hall, to the phony evangelist, the Coney Island "fun people", the Central Park "strollers" and the YMHA "self-improvers," every character is interesting.
This is a bright and sophisticated show in every sense. Cy Coleman has captured the rhythms and sounds, and Dorothy Fields the vernacular and fun of New York. It's a comedy in every sense of the word. Neil Simon has a particular talent for looking at the truly amusing side of life. It's a dancing show too, with great opportunity for use of dramatic movement. Wonderful musical numbers include Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now, Too Many Tomorrows, There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This, I'm a Brass Band and Baby, Dream Your Dream.
- Charity's Theme
- You Should See Yourself - Charity
- Big Spender - Nickie, Helene and Fandango Girls
- Charity's Soliloquy - Charity
- Rich Man's Frug - The Company
- If My Friends Could See Me Now - Charity
- Too Many Tomorrows - Vittorio Vidal
- There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This - Charity, Nickie and Helene
- I'm The Bravest Individual - Charity and Oscar
- The Rhythm Of Life - Daddy Johann Sebastian Brubeck, Daddy's Assistants, Daddy's All-Girl Rhythm Choir and The Company
- Good Impression - Oscar
- Baby, Dream Your Dream - Nickie and Helene
- Sweet Charity - Oscar and The Company
- Where Am I Going? - Charity
- I'm A Brass Band - Charity and The Company
- I Love To Cry At Weddings - Herman, Tenor Solo, Rosie, Nickie, Helene and The Company
- I'm The Bravest Individual (Reprise) - Charity
Sweet Charity is the story of a taxi-dancer at the Fandango Ballroom in New York, who just wants to be loved. The opening scene shows her current boyfriend Charlie, stealing her purse and pushing her into the lake. She is rescued by a passerby and returns to the Fandango, where she tries to convince her friends Nickie and Helene, and herself, that Charlie tried to rescue her.
Herman their boss arrives and tells the girls to get to work. The dancers proposition the male guests with 'Big Spender'. On the street Charity, being generous, gives to every beggar who approaches her, until she has no money left to buy herself food. Just then Vittorio rushes out of the Pompeii Club, in pursuit of his lover Ursula, but she refuses to return with him. He takes the "very willing" Charity back inside with him, where the latest craze "The Rich Man"s Frug" is being danced. Charity tries to steer Vittorio away from the subject of Ursula, and he asks her to dance. Not having eaten since breakfast she faints, and finally persuades him to take her back to his apartment to recover. While there, she admits to being a dance hall hostess, and Vittorio is struck by her humour and honesty. She asks for a signed photo of him, to prove to the girls that she was in his apartment. Just then Ursula returns, and Vittorio bundles Charity into the wardrobe where she has to remain all night, while Vittorio and Ursula make love inside the four poster bed. Back in the Fandango, her friends are disappointed that she did not get more out of Vittorio, and announce their intention to get alternative careers , singing "There"s gotta be Something Better than this". Charity decides to seek "cultural enlightenment" and visits the YMCA on 92nd Street, where she meets Oscar Lindquist. They both get stuck in the broken down lift, where Oscar panics and Charity has to calm him down. End of Act one.
Act two sees them still stuck in the lift, only this time the lights have gone out too. They are rescued and Oscar invites Charity to go with him to his Church. This turns out to be a pot smoking, hippie type of venue, where Daddy Brubeck, his assistants and company sing the "Rhythm of Life" before being broken up by the police. Charity lies to Oscar about where she works and says she works in a bank. They begin to date, but Charity still can"t tell Oscar where she works. They visit Coney Island, and become trapped in the "Parachute Jump" which breaks down. This time it is Charity who panics and Oscar calms her down . He kisses her while the crowd looks on. Returning to the Fandango, Charity is pipped to the post of securing a dancing partner, by Rosie a new co-worker. Disgusted by the whole business, she quits. However, wondering what the alternative is, she sends a telegram to Oscar , asking him to meet her at a diner. There she admits that she is a dance hall hostess. But he already knows this, says he does not care and asks her to marry him. She is elated and leaves to pack a case, on which is written "Almost Married". After a surprise party at the Fandango, Charity and Oscar walk to the park. There he admits he cannot stop thinking of the "other men" in her life, panics and pushes her into the lake. The only difference between Oscar and Charlie is, Oscar does not steal her purse.