'SWEET CHARITY' YSU show lures male actors

Director Frank Castronovo hopes the production's familiar numbers will bring in audiences.
Earlier in the year, area directors acknowledged that men were something of a "precious commodity" in short supply in community theater.
They attributed the lack of male interest in performing onstage to busy lifestyles, heavy workloads, and possibly to the fact that many simply feel they are too macho to show an interest in theater.
But Dr. Frank Castronovo, of Youngstown State University's theater department, puts a different spin on the problem. He says many of the available male thespians at YSU have simply been awaiting the arrival of "Sweet Charity."
He felt the musical production about a gullible dance-hall girl with a heart of gold was so intriguing that some male students were saving their free time to devote it to "Sweet Charity."
He also surmises that some of the unprecedented interest in the production may be because of the upbeat music itself, the fact that the lively musical is about to be revived on Broadway, and that the story line is just plain appealing.
Whatever the reason, Castronovo, who is directing the production, was delighted with the turnout when auditions for the musical were announced.
"Because of the good response, we had no difficulty in selecting a cast for the production, which will be our musical biggest show of the year," he says.
Getting ready: He explains that talented YSU students have been cast in the 24 major roles required for the production and explains that "they have been rehearsing three hours a day, five days a week."
Rounding out the cast is a troupe of dancers/singers who, because of their dual roles, have been rehearsing even more extensively under the tutelage of Christine Cobb, who is choreographing the production numbers.
Factored into this mix is Rick Schilling, who is enjoying designing more than 100 costumes for the show that are appropriate for the '60s era in which the action takes place.
And finally, with the addition of some scenery and suggestive staging, all the segments have been put together, and Castronovo is extremely pleased with the results.
"Because of our limited resources, this musical is not being presented on as large a scale as a Broadway production," Castronovo says.
Favorites: However, he thinks the public will be delighted with YSU's lighthearted production that features a wide variety of gags and jokes as well as with the many easily recognizable songs such as "Big Spender," the dance-hall girls' lament, "There's Gotta be Something Better Than This," and the happily boastful, "If My Friends Could See Me Now."
The show will be staged as a matinee for some 400 area high school students. Tickets are on sale now at the YSU theater.