“Sweet Charity” Was A Success


Adam Aleksic, Editor-in-Chief

The Albany High Theatre Ensemble landed another quality performance this past weekend with their production of Sweet Charity. The theme was women’s issues and how they relate to our students, so they did a modernized interpretation of a sexist play to make it empowering instead.

Annabelle Duffy, who played the lead in last year’s Hairspray, portrayed the titular character, dance hall hostess Charity Valentine, in her misadventurous quest for love. Her singing, which caused the audience to vigorously applaud on several occasions, was far above the level expected in a high school play. Her superb acting tied everything else together and was clearly the linchpin of the production.

Some of the supporting actors also phenomenally adopted the peripheral roles. Xavier Allen really brought out Oscar’s geekiness, Julie Mahoney’s New York accent was immaculate, and Sania Cooper made a splendid Helene. The pit’s euphonious overtures added a lot, and the backstage crew pulled everything off well, too.

The climactic crescendos in the refrains from the song Big Spender, Allen’s panic attack on the elevator, Jackie Flynn’s appearance as Rosie, the cameos from Mr. Sawyer and Mr. Bizarro, and the hypnotic shadows from everyone’s dancing bouncing off in the light all were particularly memorable. Humorous moments added levity to serious situations but did not detract from the overall message. It definitely was worth seeing and well executed. Terrific costumes, choreography, and makeup sealed the deal.

Perhaps the best characteristic of the play was the infectious passion the ensemble brought to their work. Everybody was beaming and delighted to do their roles, and that made the audience just as happy to watch them in action.

There were a few iffy elements about the production. The sound quality wasn’t perfect, and we got audio feedback several times. Some of the accents were just noticeably off and there seemed to be a few minor slip-ups. One visiting student from Albany Academies commented that “it was definitely a little risqué”, but that seems to be the norm for Albany High the past few years. I personally didn’t like the politicization of the director’s opening statements, but the feminist message was good, of course. In terms of previous years, the general consensus was that Sweet Charity was better than Oliver! but slightly inferior to Hairspray.

Overall, Sweet Charity was marked by prodigal talent, unparalleled enthusiasm, brilliant acting, and zealous, skilled singing. Another triumph for the AHS Theatre Ensemble, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it won several awards again.