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‘Charity’ breaks a leg before B’way bow

'Sweet' lines up d'Amboise

Charlotte d’Amboise replaces Christina Applegate in the Broadway-bound revival of “Sweet Charity.”

Applegate broke her foot during Friday’s performance of the show, which had been in tryouts in Chicago. Understudy Dylis Croman finished the Friday perf and assumed the role of Charity for the remaining three perfs at Chi’s Cadillac Palace Theater.

The revival now moves to Boston (March 18-27), with d’Amboise in the lead, before coming to Broadway next month. Although the Gotham opening is set for April 21, producer Barry Weissler did not rule out pushing back that date a week to help facilitate the thesp switch. Cutoff for Tony eligibility is May 4.

Over the weekend, producers Barry and Fran Weissler and Clear Channel put a brave face on the unfortunate situation, saying Applegate’s doctors expected the actress to make the first Broadway preview. But broken feet don’t do Bob Fosse steps in anything under six weeks. The upbeat prognosis on Sunday morphed into Monday’s replacement announcement.

“It was one of those freak things,” director Walter Bobbie said of the accident. “Christina walked out at the beginning of the show, spun around the lamp post, and she heard her metatarsal snap.”

Bobbie has directed d’Amboise in the Weisslers’ current production of “Chicago,” in which she plays the lead role of Roxie Hart. “She has been in and out of the show for seven years,” said Weissler. “Charlotte is the full package; she just doesn’t have the name.”

According to Bobbie, d’Amboise has been with the “Sweet Charity” revival “since day one” and began rehearsals Dec. 27 as Applegate’s standby. “We thought it was wise to have another star in the wings,” said Bobbie.

“I would love nothing more than for the curtain to rise on April 21 (opening night) and have Christina Applegate standing on that stage. But it’s just a little beyond my control right now,” said producer Barry Weissler.

The producers did not take out star insurance on Applegate. “You can’t buy proper insurance without paying a fortune,” Weissler explained.

Depending on a performer’s age and professional track record, star insurance can run anywhere from 3% to 10% of a show’s capitalization. “Sweet Charity” will cost $7.5 million to stage.

“The Boy From Oz” with Hugh Jackman and “Gypsy” with Bernadette Peters are recent examples of productions that did carry insurance on their headliners.

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