'Sweet Charity' Back on Track to Broadway

It's back — and so is its star Christina Applegate (search).

The problem-plagued revival of "Sweet Charity," (search) which last week canceled its Broadway (search) engagement after Applegate broke her foot and the show received tepid out-of-town reviews, will open May 4 in New York, two weeks later than originally planned, producer Barry Weissler said Tuesday.

"Christina came to me and made the most deeply felt emotional plea," Weissler said in a telephone interview. "She has given up all her movies for the year, plus her home and husband are on the West Coast. This is what she has wanted since she was a little girl and I just couldn't take it away from her."

Weissler said he has received assurances from Applegate's doctors that she will be able to perform in the musical, which is a dance-heavy show.

"Sweet Charity" will now begin preview performances April 11 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, with Applegate's standby, Charlotte d'Amboise, playing the role through April 16. Applegate, who broke her right foot during a performance in Chicago on March 11, will take over the role on April 18.

The musical needs to open by May 4, which is the last day a show can arrive to qualify for the 2005 Tony Awards.

"We laid the show down and now have to reopen it," he said. "We have to do two advertising campaigns — one for Charlotte, one for Christina. It's going to cost."

D'Amboise played the part of Charity during the show's recent 10-day Boston tryout and received better reviews than the musical, which drew mixed notices in both Minneapolis and Chicago.

Applegate, best known for playing teenage bimbette Kelly Bundy on the television sitcom "Married ... With Children," had been eager to take on Broadway as taxi dancer Charity Hope Valentine.

"This needed to happen for me to become a better person, a better artist," she told the AP in a February interview. "After talking to a lot of people I respect, it hit me: 'If I don't do this, I will regret it for the rest of my life.'"

The New York production will also have two new actresses, Krya DaCosta and Janine LaManna, playing Charity's best pals, Helene and Nickie. They joined the show in Boston, replacing the two women who appeared in the musical during its Minneapolis and Chicago engagements.

"Sweet Charity," with a book by Neil Simon and a score by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields, was first done on Broadway in 1966 with Gwen Verdon in the title role. Shirley MacLaine starred in the 1969 film version. Dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen played Charity in the 20th-anniversary Broadway revival in 1986. Later in the run, Allen was replaced by Ann Reinking.